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The Real Power Struggle

Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf!
He turned the sea into dry land, they passed through the waters on foot – come, let us rejoice in him.
He rules forever by his power, his eyes watch the nations – let not the rebellious rise up against him.
Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. Psalm 66:5-9

At 5:30 am on 16th July 1945 a light brighter than a dozen suns lit up the desert sands of New Mexico. A scientist watching began to weep: “My God”, he exclaimed, “we have created hell”.

On that fateful day the world changed. Atomic weapons gave a new perspective to the international power struggle. Countries with ‘the bomb’ soon decided to limit its use for themselves and to discourage its production by others.

When we think of power struggles we think of armies, bombs and guns. We think of uprisings and rebellions. We think of competing ideologies and philosophies, of political victories and defeats. But in many ways the ultimate struggle for control is locked up in our own hearts and minds. For some it means getting to the top – Julius Caesar said, ‘I would rather be first at Brundisium (a place of little importance) than second at Rome’. Alexander the great and Napoleon Bonaparte were inwardly tortured by the lust to rule the world.

For others money is the measure of power. It talks and others jump at the sound of its voice. Still others contend for social position, not only keeping up with the fabled ‘Joneses’ but actually getting ahead of them.

But for all of us there is a more definite power struggle. It is the fight between good and evil within us, between being genuine or phoney, generous or selfish, arrogant or humble. At this point the Christian view of power is utterly relevant. It tells us that ultimate power is not in guns, bombs, armies, political parties, financial success or social status. The Psalmist tells us that real power belongs to God. It is the power of love, the cleansing power that flows from the cross of Christ. It is this power that has transformed our world and it is this power that should be transforming us.

To win the power struggle we do not need to get stronger in our own strength and to win our battles by personality power. We need to be honest enough to admit our great weakness, and learn to plug in by faith to the One from who all goodness flows.