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be not afraid of power part 1
2016.07.15 00:32:03

Be Not Afraid of Power part 1

be not afraid; Facing Fear with Faith by Samuel Wells


Read Matthew 21:23ff

You’re not the boss of me!

I arrived early to pick up Andrea from day care. She hadn’t seen me yet and I could watch her playing with her friends. She had many and I never tired of watching her interact with them on the playground. A simple world but still they were learning how share and be kind and also to negotiate conflict and differences. I liked the school’s policy of generally letting the children work things out on their own.


When I arrived, she was in a group sitting on a blanket playing with blocks and dolls. Moments later she and two others broke away from the group and headed for the teeter-totter. Two spots…three kids. An argument ensued that quickly escalated. One yelled, “You’re not the boss of me.” Another yelled “And you’re not the boss of me.” Andrea, the pastor’s daughter, yelled, “You aren’t the boss of me either…(thinking, thinking, thinking…maybe she had seen me…) Yeah, ‘cause God’s the boss.” That seemed to settle the argument, at least for that afternoon.


In chapter 11 Wells asserts that one of the unexpected consequences of the Reformation is a shift in our understanding of power and authority. Prior to the Reformation ultimate authority rested (in theory) with God. The Reformation, by placing the bible in the hands of the people shifted this authority. Furthermore,

the Enlightenment said authority lay not in ancient documents, venerable institutions, or inspired leaders but in the heart of each individual. So the American and French Revolutions invested authority not in God, in the church, or in the Bible but in the people. They introduced a new religion, which said that the voice of the people was the voice of God.”


This chapter really got me thinking about how much power we allow God. Yes, I believe God is the ultimate authority but do I live as if I believe that. How often do I presume God’s grace and take it for granted. Yes I am loved and forgiven, but does that shape how I live day to day. Yes I am a pastor and spend hours and hours in scripture and prayer and worship every week, but still, I am a human, a sinner, living in a fallen world. I know that there are times I resonate with the kids on the playground, “You’re not the boss of me.” I hope I can remember it’s because God is boss!

Wells asks some great questions on p. 75:

What authority do you have? Are you admired, perhaps even feared, because you are powerful?

Are you respected, perhaps even imitated, because you are effective and get the job done? Or do you have another kind of authority, which …restson a confidence God is fundamentally in charge…in Jesus. (Authority of truth)



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