October 8, 2017

Accessing the Power Within: 2 Examples


“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”—Luke 10:19 (NIV)

You are more capable than you imagine. Let me start with that word of empowerment. It’s not always easy to accept such truths. We can feel defeated when we don’t meet our goals, or have to choose less grand ones.

A person may even feel like every plan they have gets crushed.  They are still doing elementary-school addition when they expected to be mastering calculus by now.

That’s when we must dig below the surface to find the strength to battle enemies of every kind. It has already been given to us; we just have to stake our claim. Here are some examples of how we underrate our God-given ability:

Snakes

I read a story about a minister who was invited by a zookeeper friend to view a reptile house in a zoo. The friend stated that he wanted to show him something interesting. 

The worker let a bird fly into the snake’s habitat. The snake seemed to ignore the newcomer. It remained calmly coiled in its spot. The bird, of course, was hysterical. It squawked and flapped around. It knew what was coming.

In time, the snake lifted its head and began staring at the bird. It seemed to hypnotize him with its eyes. The bird stopped struggling. The snake uncoiled and grabbed it.

Lesson: The bird could fly, and the snake was stuck on the ground. Who knows how long the bird could have stayed away from the snake if he hadn’t given in to the reptile’s power?

Saddam Hussein

This former dictator of Iraq was executed in 2006. He killed, tortured, and starved thousands of people during his regime. His countrymen must have lived in a constant state of fear and trepidation.

Admiral William H. McRaven, U.S. Navy Retired, tells the story of Hussein’s last days in the brilliant book he wrote, Make Your bed: Little Things That can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World.  This military genius oversaw the prison where Hussein was held immediately prior to his execution. One day, the new leaders of the Iraqi government were led into Hussein’s cell. The purpose was to show Hussein that he was no longer in power.

Epic fail. The visitors were obviously still terrified of the dictator. They screamed at him, red-faced, from a safe distance. Hussein yelled back. It was some time before the new rulers felt safe enough to sit down. Hussein continued to taunt them, and smirk at them, from a seated position.

Lesson:  Hussein was scheduled to die. He was shackled and guarded by two elite military men. He couldn’t move much, and he couldn’t contact anybody for help. The former head of state had no power whatsoever.

The Aftermath: Admiral McRaven isolated Hussein even further. He was moved to a different room. His personal guards were instructed not to speak a word to the prisoner, because that’s where his power lay.  He was known for his charisma.
The admiral visited Hussein only once a day. The prisoner would rise from his bed respectfully. The navy man would wordlessly motion him to sit back down. That’s it. For one month.

My Conclusion

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NIV)

It’s the enemy’s job to confuse, bully, and demean us. (See 1 Peter 5:8.) We don’t have to take it.

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