Power Struggles

Let us ask whether we have learnt to regard a reproof, just or unjust, a reproach from friend or enemy, an injury, or trouble, or difficulty into which others bring us, as above all an opportunity of proving Jesus is all to us

Andrew Murray, Humility

I read this on Friday. The struggle to apply it came Sunday night.

My will was crossed by someone in authority. I knew what I was doing; I had been doing it for years and previous authorities were fine with it.  But there was a new sheriff in town, so to speak, and he objected. What was worse, he had no interest in hearing my side or reasoning together to come up with an acceptable solution. His decision made my job harder, but he had the authority and he had made a unilateral decision.

My internal reaction was pretty typical. I was right. I wanted to win. I kept going over in my mind the clever phrases I could throw at him to make him feel small even if he won.

But Andrew Murray’s words were still ringing in my ears: “a reproach from friend or enemy…just or unjust…an opportunity of proving Jesus is all to us.”

But my “rights” were being violated!

The struggle was amplified by the lesson I had taught at church that very morning that included being willing to sacrifice our “rights” for the sake of the gospel as the apostle Paul did (I Cor 9).

But someone should teach that guy a lesson so he doesn’t keep treating people that way!  (it’s for his own good, after all…) 

Turn the other cheek…love your enemies…pray for those who persecute you (Mat 5:38-48).  I couldn’t find a verse that says it’s my job to correct everyone else who’s wrong.

Even as I continued to wrestle with this, I found myself beginning to smile. It was a smile that seemed to well up from somewhere deep inside of me as I recognized that this blood-pressure-raising confrontation was a gift from God.  I was given an opportunity to put into practice what I’ve been learning and teaching: The purpose of my life is to bring pleasure to the God who created me in every circumstance. As I focus on that, the need to”win” a power struggle like this to soothe my own ego is laughably insignificant.

The real power struggle wasn’t over who won outwardly. It was over whether my response was going to please God or not.

It is indeed blessed, the deep happiness of heaven, to be so free from self that whatever is said of us or done to us is lost and swallowed up, in the thought that Jesus is all.

Andrew Murray, Humility

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One thought on “Power Struggles

  1. Epilogue: After posting this on Monday, someone convinced the authority involved to change his decision and allowed us to proceed as we always had in the past. God works all things together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.

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