Governments are instituted to establish power. In order to understand how God and government interact you have to understand how God views power. However, before that you have to understand how the world defines power. Websters dictionary defines power as “legal or official authority, capacity, or right; possession of control, authority, or influence over others”. This is how the world views power. It also how governments view power.
What God Says about Power
God has a very different view on power. You can find God’s view on power in God’s instruction book for you. This instruction book is the Bible.
God has Ultimate Power
God is ultimately in control over everything that happens. However, God does not exercise control in the same manner that you or I would. He exercises his power through offering you and I choices.
For I know the plans I have for you” — this is the Lord’s declaration — “plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you” — this is the Lord’s declarationJeremiah 29:11-14 CSB
God controls everything that happens within government, also. Even when it seems that everything is out of control.
He said:2 Chronicles 20:6 CSB
Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven, and do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand, and no one can stand against you.
A Matter of Attitude
We view power as a matter of control over others. God on the other hand views power not as a matter of control over others, but as a way of serving others. Those who truly exercise power aren’t trying to control others by lording over them, but instead are seeking ways to serve others.
Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”Mark 10:42-45 CSB
Power Can be Misused
The fact that you and I are fallen creatures makes us likely to abuse whatever power we may have. God does not misuse his power. In fact he very rarely exercises his true power. Why? Because God is a gentleman, who will never force us to do anything that we don’t want to do.
A wicked person secretly takes a bribeProverbs 17:23 CSB
to subvert the course of justice.
Human Power Comes From God
Whatever power we have comes directly from God. This includes anyone in a position of authority. Wether it be someone in government, someone in business or even parents. That is why you and I are instructed over and over again to obey those in authority over us.
So Pilate said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Don’t you know that I have the authority to release you and the authority to crucify you? ”John 19:10-11 CSB
“You would have no authority over me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
Control Yourself First Before You Try to Control Others
Before you ever to try to exercise authority over others you need to have your own self under control first. Those under you will be more willing to fall under your control and listen to you if they see that you are able to exercise control over yourself.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.2 Peter 1:5-7 CSB
Self-control is very important for those who are in a position of power. Why? Because self-control is one of the fruits of the spirit. Which shows others that you are not just concerned about yourself but that you are concerned with others.
Submit to the Holy Spirit
It is especially important for those who are in positions of power be willing to submit to the calling of the Holy Spirit. It is only through the power of the Holy Spirit that you can and will be able to exercise power in God’s way.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The law is not against such things.Galatians 5:22-23 CSB
Note that the fruit of the spirit includes not only self-control, but also love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. All of these “fruits” only come when you submit yourself to the Holy Spirit and his calling. They, also, only come when you put others ahead of yourself.
This is how God views power. To put others ahead of yourself is how God views power. Power to God is not about control it is about love.