In Article II, part one, we began looking into the choice we have in life to embrace the chalice of power or the cup of Christ. In this introductory article we saw how power, apart from God’s intent, is raw, roguish, and destructive; very much like a cancer cell is to a healthy cell. We also ended the article by naming the cure for this cancerous force, and that cure is God’s grace. But, what is grace, really?
The word “grace” holds a variety of meanings. Sometimes grace is an attitude of refinement, politeness, and other times it’s a reference to ones apparent flawless muscular coordination. From a financial perspective it’s a time in which a delinquent payment can be paid without penalties being accrued; politically it can become a title. From a perspective of spirituality the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines grace as both a noun and a verb:
(noun) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings//a divinely given talent or blessing: the graces of the Holy Spirit//the condition or fact of being favored by someone: he fell from grace because of drug use at the Olympics.
(verb) do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence: she bowed out from the sport she has graced for two decades.
In the book entitled Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine, by Max Lucado, the word “grace” get’s this description:
Grace is simply another word for God’s reservoir of strength and protection. Not occasionally or miserly but constantly and aggressively, wave upon wave. We barely regain our balance from one breaker, and then, bam, here comes another!”
Grace, real godly grace, is strength. God’s grace is power! That is why grace is both a noun (person, place, or thing) and a verb (being and doing). Grace is free, and can only be acquired from God. Grace is a divine blessing from God and mankind can honor Him, and others, with godly grace just as He has honored us with it. Grace truly is God’s chemotherapy for Satan’s cancerous perversion of power.
I have discovered that humanity will meet with three types of power, while living here on earth. These three types of power are very closely connected, and are as follows:
– Physical: anything involving the human body, its senses, and its sexuality.
– Mental: anything involving the human mind.
– Spiritual: anything involving the human spirit/soul; things of a religious nature.
Physical power can be manifested in several ways, but these three particular forms are most prevalent. First, it can appear to us as political power (governmental affairs of a given country), second is monetary power (financial affairs involving currency), and third is emotional or sexual power (affairs relating to the most basic of human instincts, physiological processes, and activities connected with physical attraction or intimate physical contact).
Mental power is exhibited when someone manages to gain influence or control over someone else’s thought processes. Advertisers use mental influences to sell products. Politicians use aspects of mental control to gain your support. Men and women, alike, use this type of sway to connect with one another and mate. Psychologists utilize this type of power to help heal their patients. Hypnotherapists do the same, all be it in a more invasive way.
Spiritual power, just as these other two-forms of power, are used for the soul purpose of controlling the unseen. Satan attempts to stay in power over mankind by influencing our spirits to rebel against following God’s statutes. Religious leaders make use of this power to attract people to their churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues, and to promote their belief systems. God uses His powers over the unseen to restore humanity to Himself, through the gift of His divine grace, and to make us the true worshipers that He originally created us to be.
Power, both perverse and pure, exists all around us. No one form of power is ever initiated without the use of the other forms. Though we see ourselves as physical beings we still use mental and spiritual powers, either for good or for bad. Though we conceive ourselves as mentally superior, we still tap into the body and soul to achieve virtue or malice. Whether you believe in the power of the spirit of mankind, or not, the mind and body play a part in the power of the righteous spirit or the evil spirit. Power is everywhere, but apart from God’s purpose it becomes rogue — out of control — cancerous.
The world received yet another horrible display of this rogue power, all too recently, in Newtown, Connecticut, USA. For what ever reason, a deranged young man decided to go on a killing spree and attempt to destroy countless lives. This wasn’t just physical brutality on display, or mental issues too long undealt with. This was a cold reminder of what can happen when God’s power is removed from the spirit of humanity.
All too often, when a tragedy like the Sandy Hook massacre occurs, people want to analyze the symptoms they think are at the core of the incident without really diagnosing the problem. They want to attack the tools used during the offense, and help promote some political agenda, while yet again avoiding to understand the real issue involved. It’s only when we open ourselves up to understanding why power has become so corrupt that we can hope to overcome such tragedies as this one in Connecticut, USA.
Mankind has to embrace an understanding of its fallen nature, and in turn give its corrupt nature to its Creator to correct. Only through God’s grace can we ever hope in a brighter tomorrow. Without embracing God’s grace in our lives, we can never overcome Satan and his demonic power. Only by returning our lives to God’s holy influence can humanity escape being nothing more than puppets in the hand of an evil puppet master.
Even Jesus, the very begotten Son of God, had to overcome the powers of Satan before He could become our pure and holy sacrifice. Look with me at Matthew, chapter 4, verses 1-11: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.’ Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’’ Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’’ Jesus answered him, ‘It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’’ Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’’ Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.”
Did you pay attention to the process that Satan followed to draw God the Son away from God the Father? The Devil first attacks Jesus’ humanity. This is an attempt to split the flesh away from the spirit. Mental power is being used by Satan to get Jesus to focus on the fleshly things (namely Christ’s physical need for nourishment) in order to remove His focus from His purpose. Christ quotes a Scripture verse (Deuteronomy 8:3) and Satan loses this first attempt to dethrone the Prince of heaven.
The next temptation confronts Christ’s spirituality. Satan couldn’t get Jesus to focus on the flesh, so he tries to use Christ’s deity against Himself, even quoting Scripture (Psalm 91:11-12) to the incarnate Word of God. In doing this, the devil is wanting Jesus to use His godly powers for His own personal gain. After all, Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, and the Father would never let anything bad happen to His own child. This attack didn’t work either, and after Jesus completes another Scripture quote (Deuteronomy 6:16), Satan has to attempt a third attack.
The final temptation, was a last ditch effort to lure Christ from His Father’s purpose. Satan offers Jesus all of creation. Yes — all of creation! The Devil couldn’t get Jesus to focus on His physical needs. Satan couldn’t get Jesus to abuse His spiritual powers, so now he offers Christ the only thing he had left to bargain with — the very thing he stole from humanity — the rule of creation.
Oh, the audacity of this demon king. Satan lost out on being God’s most cherished cherub just because he thought he could rule over God and the heavens. Losing at that, the silly serpent then steals the dominion of earth from mankind and turns around and offers it up to Jesus, but only if Christ will bow down and worship him. Satan was willing to give up his last chance at ruling something God created for the chance at having God’s own Son worship him — it was all about the power he longed for from the beginning. If Satan couldn’t be over the entire triune God, then at least he could rule over the second of the three — Immanuel.
You see, Lucifer couldn’t defeat the triune God, all at once, for the rule of the heavens. Maybe though, Satan could defeat God the Son, alone, and get Him to worship him. Are you following this? Satan was still sulking over his loss of station and power. Sure he was ruler here, but he knew (and knows) that rule was (and still is) temporal, and only because the triune God had allowed it. Satan also knew he was offering up stolen goods to the very one who created it and who technically still owned it, and yet that did not detour him from trying. “Oh to have at the very least, Jesus — the Son of God — worship me,” the Devil must have thought. Satan thought wrong, for with a final quote of Scripture (Deuteronomy 6:13) the battle was lost, and upon Christ’s final rejection of the Devil, Satan left Him and angels came to attend to His needs. Righteous power will always win over the forces of unrighteousness.
Did you happen to notice how Satan was so quickly defeated? Scripture. God’s Word really is a mighty two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), and even though Satan knows of God’s Word he cannot wield it as a weapon against us, or God, because he doesn’t know God’s Word personally. Only we can, because God’s grace has allowed us to have a personal relationship with His very Word made into flesh. That godly Word, come to life, is Jesus. Jesus is the weapon we can wield against Satan. Jesus is the power of God’s grace, come to life.
I will leave you with a simple lyric about great power. It’s from a simple children’s song, that most of you will know. The words are as follows:
Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong; they are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.
Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.
The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.
Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine © 2012 by Max Lucado
All rights reserved. The brief information quoted from this book appears in this article with the permission granted per the copyright statement which appears in the first edition publication, September 2012.
Published by Thomas Nelson, 501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 — (615) 889-9000; www.thomasnelson.com/.
Jesus Loves Me, words by Anna Bartlett Warner and William Batchelder Bradbury and music by William Batchelder Bradbury, pub.: Unknown, Copyright: Public Domain
If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason Ministries‘ Twitter account or Facebook page.