“Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Lord Acton
“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” Jon Steinbeck

How do you use your power? Though power can easily be misused for selfish gain, the answer is not to avoid power. The question is how do we wield our power and influence with Christ-like wisdom? One place to begin is by learning from many negative lessons about power’s corrupting effects on even the best of us. Here are nine suggestions on how to wisely wield power.

  1. Beware of saying, “That could never happen to me!” It can. None of us is above temptation, blind spots, fallibility, and sin. Every last saint in Scripture is also a sinner.
  2. Beware of temptation to say, “The rules don’t apply to me. I’ve earned this. I’m special!” Trust me, you’re not THAT special. And, no, you haven’t earned it.
  3. Learn to listen to all voices! Especially voices of dissent. Cultivate the willingness to respectfully listen to contrarians. Even if you honestly disagree with them, remember they too belong to God.
  4. Ask yourself, “What am I hiding? What do I not want to see the light of day? Is there anything I’m doing that I would hate to go public?” Alcoholics Anonymous is right in saying, “We’re as sick as our secrets.”
  5. Be very careful what you claim God said to you. It’s not that God doesn’t move or guide us. But test those inclinations against Scripture. Sound out leaders you respect. Listen for God’s voice in community.
  6. Are you able to put others first? Are you able to give away power, lift others up, find ways for others to use their gifts? Can you share power, take a secondary position, not always have to be in the driver’s seat?
  7. Ask yourself, “Am I behaving out of fear?” Invite the critique of trusted friends.
  8. Cultivate humility. Do you have a smug or unhealthy sense of your own importance, an excessive desire for recognition? Are you able to praise others publicly? Remember, “Pride goes before a fall.”
  9. Keep looking to Jesus. Learn from his life and his teachings. Jesus lived for others and emptied himself. He took on the powerful, refusing to use violence even for a just cause. And ultimately, he empowered his followers, entrusting them with the mission of the kingdom of God!
Andy Wall
Author: Andy Wall