You Want Power?

Authority is a funny thing.

Jesus had it by nature of Who He was, and has it by nature of Who He is.

You and I have it on several possible (and often a mixture of) levels.

We have it due to our relationship to God in the most
basic sense- that is, we are His sons and daughters by faith in Jesus
-and by our
faithful relationship/surrender/walk with Father, Son and Spirit we grow in that
bond of love and obedience. The Bible calls Christ-followers “heirs”.

We have authority and influence due to God the Holy Spirit gifting us
with what the
Bible refers to as spiritual gifts. Linked to those gifts (an
important reality) are His
primary and other callings on our life.

We’re also granted authority and influence by friends, some near,
perhaps some far,
who for any number of reasons (right or wrong) appreciate and even respect us.

One of several problems with the responsibility that comes with
authority is that
there are a long list of reasons WHY people continue to trust us
and therefore allow us credibility. I do believe “allow” is the best term.

As I age and because of God’s countless blessings as well as my own
selfish, foolish
blunders, I’ve both gained and lost influence. Age in itself both
grants and costs us
the privilege of some measure of respect.

It seems to me one of the important issues of life is to be as
brutally honest and humble
about your own pet sins, your own self-interest desires and to
surrender them to God-
which at times has meant one of 4 things regarding my own interaction
with authority
and influence. I list these in no particular order:

1. Seek God and know when to step aside, “give the keys to someone else”

2. Find true peace with less influence- don’t take it personal, none
of us are all
that great

3. Consider how you can help less mature people who aspire to
leadership what biblical,
accountable, servant-leadership looks like (by example of deeds as
well as words)

4. If your pride and self-seeking doesn’t bring you to my first point
(above… number
1…) and if you aren’t willing for God to move you from your chosen
tree-limb of
comfortable influence -at very least don’t be surprised when God does
it directly or
uses others to do the job

We ALL are expendable.

It (life, the church, leadership) was NEVER about us (kudos to Rick
Warren). Our focus
MUST be up and out, toward God and others, toward loving and serving
both, not grasping
nor demanding what we want out of our area of service.

I have found serving God brings deeper and far more guilt-free
satisfaction than does
demanding my own will be done- which is at times the true motive for
assuming and/or
desiring authority and influence.

Jesus said “I am among you as one who serves” and “The greatest among
you shall be
the servant of all”.

Sharing influence is common and we all do it all the time, we just
aren’t conscious of
doing so.

Life is a relay-race, not a me-versus-the-world marathon. Community
rather than kingship.

I have found the less I grasp and seek approval the more I am at peace
to speak my
mind and hopefully be true to what God says in His Word as opposed to mere human
philosophy and personal conjecture.

Please know that I’m quite sure some reading this feel like people who
have never
gotten the break they desire, some have continued to judge and bitterly (yes…
“bitterly”) fight throughout their lives for places of power and
influence though
they as well as others have the same sin-nature, the very same sense of wanting
influence and what they think will be a sense of well-being and safety
when THEIR
ship finally comes in! If one wishes to rid themselves of a dictator
only to become
the next dictator…

Plenty of people don’t love people nor God nearly as much as they love
a romantic vision
of their own authority and position of influence being somehow finally attained.

People who use authority and influence as a kind of personal
medication are sources of
great confusion and pain among humankind. World and church history
attest to this!

So it is with a sense of grace toward others, humility towards people
and truly under the
lordship of Jesus Christ that we must all walk- regardless of whether
we think we influence
nobody (a myth… as all of us affect those around us) or whether it’s
fifty, one hundred,
thousands or even millions of people.

“To whom much is given, much shall be required. To whom more is given,
much more shall
be required.” Jesus said those words, and we need to understand that
the grass is just
as often burnt as it is “greener on the other side” of authority.

At the very beginning of forming a band that lasted some 28 years and
was blessed
with many thousands of friends in this world, I told my wife-to-be
that I expected
people would both love and hate us. I told her some of those we respected would
speak out against what they would judge as evil music and therefore
would consider us
less godly, sincere disciples of Jesus. I said, “Therefore, we are
going to have to
be ten-times as serious in our Bible knowledge and application and
ten-times as much
into practical holy living as the average Christian is”.

God prepared and also cautioned me to keep a grace-focused, forgiving
attitude toward
those who would get what He was doing in our lives. Looking back it
seems this was
part of Him preparing me for leadership- something I never asked for
nor sought after and
was (somewhat with horror) surprised and shocked to be called to later on.

Influence comes with a understandable price. When you are serious
about serving the
true, living God, you are not your own any longer.

God have mercy on all of us- as our authority and influence affects
others for good
and for ill.

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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4 thoughts on “You Want Power?

  1. Thanks, Glenn, for such an insightful post. Not only have I enjoyed your music since being introduced to Rez Band back in 1981, but I also enjoy your spiritual wisdom and understanding that I am able to read occasionally here and elsewhere. I had the pleasure of meeting you at the Harvest Moon Blues Festival in Oregon this past summer (and embarrassingly said meeting you was like meeting the Pope). I hope someday to meet you again in a slightly quieter setting (10 feet from the house monitors isn’t exactly conducive to having a conversation) so we can really talk. God bless, love in Christ, keep the faith, Jesus rocks!Adam RussellUmatilla, Ore.

  2. Glenn, I really enjoyed your message. The title really caught my eye, what truth. I have enjoyed your music for years, and had the pleasure of meeting you in DeKalb IL. a few years back . I give guitar lessons as a side job, and entered some of them in the Illinois Guitar League competition a few years back, I think you will enjoy what they did. They took first place with "My Jesus is All" They rocked the house. The violinist and lead vocalist is my daughter age 12.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mkGapdWdfYThanks again for your ministry.Paul

  3. Amen!When we are young, we look to good leaders to disciple us in the truth of Jesus. Andthat is the point. We are discipled and then we disciple and continue the cycle. Leadership is about having something worth leading to. When Jesus was ready to ascend, He didn’t tell the other disciples that Peter was going to be the principal leader for a while, instead, He told Peter to feed His sheep. You, and many other good brothers and sisters have spent your lives feeding the sheep, not trying to garner personal power or gain, but training the sheep to become new leaders Thanks for your years of service.Michael

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