Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (NIV)
Imagine one spring morning looking out the window onto a bed of radiant, yellow daffodils. As you gaze, you sense the vibrant blooms drawing you. With an inviting power, they transport you into a state of hope and joy. They cheer you up! Winter is over!
That's not merely your imagination! These flowers emanate a genuine power. It is the power of the sun from which they receive life. You witness this power through the quiet, innocent beauty of the flower. I call it flower power! It never intrudes, yet it lures. It's a power that can be profound and wonderful.
There's also bad flower power — as in hogweed, a giant weed spreading at an uncontrollable rate in my area. Hogweed can grow up to twenty feet high with a stem four inches wide. Its floral head can stretch three feet wide. Hogweed has an insatiable lust for power and domination. It is invasive, destructive, and poisonous. You try to stay away from it.
Daffodils and hogweed illustrate two opposing forces: The power of love and the love of power. One feels safe and welcoming — like the daffodil; the other feels intrusive and suffocating — like the hogweed. One encourages you to be yourself; the other to hide behind a self-protective façade. One gives life; the other destroys life.
Wherever the love of power takes hold, the power of love dies. We cannot love both power and our neighbour. It's impossible. No wonder Jesus taught His followers to surrender all desire for power. Yet, He did not leave us passive or powerless. Quite the contrary! Jesus said, "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you …". What kind of power is this? It is the power of the Son's love within! This love can have a stronger impact than any human power. It's the very power of God, witnessed by those around us.
Pure love never attempts to control or dominate. It does not need to win an argument, to be noticed or esteemed. When we truly love, we never use our advantages to assert ourselves over another — be that our knowledge, our way with words, or our position in life. In fact, all our advantages are rubbish to us. Love is our only power.
The power of love is not measured by the amount of time dedicated to a commitment, but by the power released through it. The strongest influence is not what takes the most time, but what exerts the most power — precisely, the power of love. This is, in fact, how we fulfill Christ's promise that we would be His witnesses.
May this be your prayer:
Prayer: Lord, I invite You to expose any power hunger that lurks in my heart. Instead, may Your Spirit empower me to be like the daffodil, content to bloom where I grow and free from all habits of drivenness and self-assertion. May pure love rule in the lives of all who bear Your name, that Your glory may be witnessed even to the ends of the earth. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Through All The Changing Scenes" (Lyrics)