by Jon Walker
For even if I boast somewhat freely about the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down, I will not be ashamed of it. (2 Corinthians 10:8 NIV)
My son came home from middle school the other day and told me there’d been a reward-day-type assembly, where some neat stuff was given away. Then a teacher put all the student’s names into a bucket for a drawing to determine who would win the biggest prize of all!
“I know you’re only supposed to use special powers for good,” my son said, “But if I had special powers, I would have been tempted today to stop time just before the teacher called out the winner. And I would have slipped up and put my own name in her hand.”
My first thought was, “Wow, that really would be cool!” – but then, out loud, I agreed that special powers should only be used for the good of others. As the great theologian, Spiderman, says: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
But then my A.D.D. brain start pinging like a pin ball wizard running wild in the arcade. (OK, I’m showing my age.) It occurred to me that, as Christians, we do have special powers. In fact, we have the most special power of all planted deep within us: the Holy Ghost, spirit power of Jesus Christ.
Paul, the Blind Man of Damascus Road, refers to this special power when he’s speaking of his role as an apostle. He said the power and authority that emerged from Christ’s spirit within him was given to him to build others up, and that it should never be used to tear others down.
It’s possible you could render the Greek: “With great power comes great responsibility!”
The Spirit of Christ lives within us and, as faithful stewards, we’re to use the special power that flows from him to build up rather than pull down. In a sense, Oswald Chambers speaks to this when he teaches that, when God shows us the faults of others, we’re to use that knowledge to intercede for them and not to criticize them.
That’s a pretty hefty truth to carry, and I think the weight of it is one reason many of us struggle to keep it balanced on our shoulders. When we see other people’s clay feet, our first response should be to go to our knees. Too often, however, we shrug off the weight of truth in order to free our hands for finger-pointing.
What’s the difference between building up and tearing down? Consider these contrasts:
· Greet people with the positive vs. Open with the negative
· Point out what is right vs. Magnify what is wrong
· Expect excellence vs. Expect perfection
· Listen intently vs. Don’t listen at all
· See the individual vs. See the stereotype
· Applaud positive changes vs. Say, “You’ll never change!”
· Acceptance vs. Rejection
· Respect vs. Ridicule
· Apology vs. Blame
· Forgive vs. Shame
· “You can do it” vs. “You’re hopeless”
· Promises kept vs. Promises broken
· Unconditional love vs. “Strings attached” love
· God interprets circumstances vs. Fear interprets circumstances
· Point toward things above vs. Point toward problems
· “He’s a child of God” vs. “He’s a problem to be dealt with”
You have great power; how will you handle the responsibility?
· Your heart speaks through your mouth – [Jesus] went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.' For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man 'unclean.'" (Mark 7:20-23 NIV) Meditate on what comes out of your mouth on a regular basis. Talk to God about what that reveals about your heart.
· Praise the Father and encourage his creations with your tongue – “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. (James 3:9-10 NIV)
· Encourage vs. discourage – Go through the list of contrasts above and rate yourself on each item. What does your rating reveal? What’cha gonna do about it?
· Pray today – “God, I want to be a good steward of the spirit-powers you’ve invested within me. I want you to use me to encourage every person I come in contact with today, showing them the depth and breadth of your love.”
© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.
Devocionales Cristianos www.devocionalescristianos.org