Power & Gratitude
Love, law and liberty; what is it they have in common, what do they speak to, what are they informing? The issue they are exploring I believe is power. This is not the power of nature but the power of the individual human and the power of a collection of humans and the relationships of those powers.
“God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and of a sound mind.”¹ Power is not a bad thing, if is seen as a gift and as existing in relationship to love, law and liberty. I have heard that Martin Luther was to have said, “All morality is gratitude.” If that is true, then seeing power as a gift brings along the morality to use it wisely. Power is not the ultimate end of all things to posses, neither is it to be shunned or ignored. This is especially true of the nature of power as created by God. A part of this nature can be seen in the meaning of the Greek work use in the Scripture quoted. One definition given is, “inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.”² This is not power grasped after as though we are missing something but an “inherent” power. This is a power already possessed by humans but mostly not understood or appreciated but instead misused or even given away.
The spirit of the power given to us is the same spirit of power as that which exists among the Trinity, a “spirit of power, love and of a sound mind.” The most exalted name revealed by the Old Testament about the Trinity is the Tetragrammaton, “YHWH” meaning “I will be who I will be.” The power to be, the freedom to be who I am, is this not the power we all look for? But what if what we need is not power but an identity which results in possessing a power to be and to live. Then the highest possession would be our identity and not power. And what if we are given an identity, and we do not have to seek, find or create an identity, then we could be grateful and use power appropriately.
1 2 Timothy 1:7