The Francis Asbury Society

From the President’s Desk – May 2013

Posted on | May 21, 2013 | Comments Off on From the President’s Desk – May 2013

by Ron Smith

It fascinates me that if you pick up any copy of USA Today you will find a view of the American system of thought. What Americans think about most, accordingly to this newspaper, probably are: 1) public and political life, 2) entertainment and leisure, 3) sports, and 4) money. A fifth category, religion, makes the news many times as well but certainly not consistently enough to be a high priority. I would suggest the top two categories could be: power and pleasure.

Aristotle’s view of life was that one may discern what makes a human being “tick” by observing his pursuit of happiness. Whatever one pursues, one loves. I wonder if Aristotle knew he was to become the ideological leader of an American newspaper!

During Pentecost, we’re reflecting on the idea of power in the Christian life. The American mind is absorbed in it, so we thought it fitting to challenge Christians to study the public conscience. After all, what Christians think about these categories of thought may determine whether we have anything to talk about with our peers, right?

Checking Daniel Webster’s definition of power captures my intrigue on the subject: power is possession of control, authority, or influence over others (Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary: Merriam Co., Springfield, Mass., 1970). FAS wants to assure all Christians that we have a great hope in our salvation that God gives power to triumph over our flesh. “He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Rom. 8:11, NIV). It is the God who saves us who has control. The Apostle Paul understood this when he asserted that “the love of Christ controls us” (II Cor. 5:14). Peter says: “His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3, NRSV).

The Christian definition of power is for control, but as authority over ourselves and any part within us that would be enmity with God, not as authority over others. That definition seems foreign in our culture. While being absorbed with the idea of power in society, our Christian culture repudiates the idea that Christ has saving power enough to give us self-control over flesh. And so we dis-believe that we no longer owe the flesh anything, which Romans so clearly delineates (8:12).

We want to challenge you to read and reflect about the power of God to bolster His witness in His way in and through us, that His Kingdom would come and His will be done in us as it is in heaven. (You may want to start with this article by Dennis Kinlaw, or this one by Stan Key.) Enjoy reflecting with us, and may you be endued with power from above.

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