From The Second Half of the Cross
The tragic irony in all of this, on a truly galactic scale, is that God does not mind sharing power. God is not only willing, but anxious to impart spiritual power to human beings (Lk. 9:1-2). It is God who created us with the capacity for abstract thought, logical reasoning, and moral judgment. A walk of faith through a life-script of varied situations and circumstances, carefully designed and orchestrated by God, is a guided apprenticeship in the right use of personal freedom and power. The examples of the people of faith in the Bible are a demonstration of God’s enlightened management approach of pushing power downward into the lives of His faithful servants.
The management approach of pushing power downward, as a method of training, is an extraordinary trait to find within the character of God. The God who created our universe is an unequaled perfectionist. In our human experience, one of the most difficult things for a perfectionist to do is to delegate. Yet God works in partnership with Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Deborah, Gideon, David, Esther, Daniel, Peter, Paul, and others through unique and unusual story-lines in the Bible in order to give them the opportunity to experience the right use of power under direct apprenticeship to God.
God composes creatively different life-scripts, calls people by His Spirit, and orchestrates adventures of faith so that people can grow and stretch into the potentially Christ-like people that God intended us to be when He created us. The fact that God enlists people into all sorts of varied enterprises in the Bible, which He could undoubtedly do infinitely better solely by Himself, tells us there is a profound purpose behind God joining Himself with us along a walk of faith through life.
The writing of the Bible is a clear example of this concept of God pushing power downward. The Bible has nearly 40 different authors, writing over a span of 1,500 years. These writers were prophets, kings, shepherds, fishermen, a physician, and other common people with varied backgrounds. They wrote from different geographical locations, about different challenges and circumstances, and through the lens of different cultural settings.
The fact that these men produced a consistent and cohesive message has enormously persuasive apologetic value in arguing for the divine inspiration of the Bible. But it also demonstrates God’s willingness and ability to spiritually joint-venture with people to produce something as lofty as Holy Scripture. Jesus says in Matthew 5:18 that the scriptures are so precise that not one jot or one tittle (Hebrew punctuation marks) shall pass from the Law until all be fulfilled. Jesus says in John 10:35 that the scriptures cannot be broken.
That God can and would enlist human participation in the writing of the inspired word of God called the Bible, which mirrors accurately in written words the actual living expression of the Word of God embodied in Jesus of Nazareth, tells us plainly of God’s intention and ability to push power downward effectively into the hearts and minds of faithful men and women of God. The fact that God created us with this “in-His-image” capacity is the clearest evidence of His loving desire to interact with us on the elevated plane of being able to responsibly, thoughtfully, and rightly use power.
At the outer limits of divine perfection self-centeredness goes away. One stereotype in the business world is of the manager who keeps information to themselves. In any organization knowledge is power. But the servant-leader approach informs, trains, and empowers others. The servant-leader creates business reports and sends out memos with the aim to share information. The servant-leader approach is a management philosophy of proactive thoughtfulness intended to liberate subordinates from complete dependence upon the all-informed and all-knowing manager.
The servant-leader, who manages to get people involved in the goals of the enterprise through personal participation in decision-making through shared leadership based upon trust, when done wisely usually creates highly motivated, enthusiastic, and committed workers. The servant-leader approach is the exact opposite of the autocrat who keeps all of the information and knowledge, and therefore the power to themselves.
Lucifer wants to live out his dream of being god at the expense of others. Lucifer’s approach is egocentric and requires the sacrifice of others to achieve his goals. By contrast God wants to fulfill His will and way by enabling others to actualize their created potential through free-will participation, a personal relationship, and wise and prudent delegation of authority. God’s approach is based upon unselfish divine love that will sacrifice Himself on the cross for the benefit and well-being of others.
The Bible set into words, and the journeys-of-faith callings portrayed therein, are the epitome of perfect unselfishness pushing power downward. The incarnation of Jesus Christ is this expression in living form. The gift of the Holy Spirit leading and guiding us into all truth from within our born-again spirits is at the height of well-intentioned thoughtfulness in the deepest moral sense.
A God-composed biblical journey of faith is an individual one-on-one training mission. God’s program is to set-up the circumstances unique to each one of our lives, whereby we can learn through first-hand experience to reach the point in wisdom that we knowingly and willingly choose the right, the noble, and the commendable course of conduct as a natural response of our improving Christ-like characters. God wants us to grow into mature sons and daughters of light, who can react in partnership with His Spirit to every situation in this fallen world environment with the quality of character that will produce joy and peace for ourselves, for others, and for God, now and for all eternity.
Lucifer’s classically deceptive temptation in the Garden, that people apart from God could become “as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5), was of the most destructive and diabolical nature. Lucifer had nothing to offer that was genuine on its own merits. Lucifer saw the good thing that God had intended for mankind, seized the opportunity, and actually stole God’s idea, corrupting it for his own purposes.
By preemptively stealing God’s creative idea of a journey of faith, before God could establish a solid relationship with Adam and Eve, Lucifer effectively short-circuited the beneficial intentions of God’s program. By replacing God with “self” in the spiritual equation, Lucifer created a counterfeit “journey of self” to match his own fallen attitude of self-worship, that is completely out-of-sync with the original plan of God for mankind.
This is why the temptation in the Garden was a deception and a lie, rather than a commendably viable alternative approach to life. Lucifer stole and corrupted God’s idea of a joint-venture walk of faith with Him, making it into an autonomous and solitary “walk of self,” because Lucifer does not have a better plan of his own other than rebellious revolt fueled by pride-filled ambition.
In reality there is no alternate plan for life in all of existence. The “walk of self” is merely a lower, fallen, corrupted version of the higher walk-of-faith fellowship that God created us with the capacity to enjoy. The current, worldly conventional modern-day version of a “walk of self” displaces the walk of faith that God designed for us as the vehicle whereby we could get to know Him.
By getting the human race to depart from God through his upside-down deception of making rebellion as autonomous individuals appear as if it was commendably liberating, Lucifer effectively erased the apprenticeship training program that God had planned for us. By going-it-on-our-own apart from the Holy Spirit, we shortchange ourselves from the character lessons that would enable us to happily and responsibly exercise our God-given capacity to learn to use power rightly for the good of ourselves and others.
Lucifer wanted power for its own sake, without being accountable to God or anyone other than himself. By getting mankind to join his rebellion against God, Lucifer has instilled this same lust for power within the character of fallen mankind. This explains why there is so much push-back against the gospel message of repentance, spiritual rebirth, and surrendering our will and way to God. Being broken upon the living Stone that is Christ (Mt. 21:44) means giving up power. But what is so sadly deceptive about sin, is that in willingly giving up self-sovereignty, the Spirit-led Christian is really only transferring power over to Jesus Christ, who intended all along to give back this self-same power to us, repackaged in a beneficially crafted individual journey of faith.
This ingenious creation of a walk of faith is a divinely guided set of life circumstances, originally designed to enable us to learn to use the power of our individual gifts and abilities properly. The irony is that it is Jesus Christ who created mankind with the express capacity to be able to use spiritual power rightly and correctly. Sitting upon the throne of our lives in spiritual rebellion frustrates the loving intention of God to fulfill our created purpose.