Why we seek power

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It’s one of those things that’s deep inside of each of us and it comes from insecurity. We want to be free from the grips of society and power means that you can be who you are or at least who you think you want to be. I believe that each of us has a genuine desire to be authentic, but we can’t because we are often concerned with the opinions of people around us. Power allows people to make reality change to fit their vision. This could be good or bad depending on what their vision is. 

Money, respect, and flexibility in life are typically what we think of when we think of “Power”. We all have needs and it’s assumed that having “Power” will compensate for those needs. We want to feel needed and desired. We often think that power is needed to achieve these feelings. 

We have a deep desire to resist the influence of others, and this means that we can shape our destiny. Imagine if your boss did not have the authority to tell you how to dress, when you can and cannot leave work, or when you can stop to call your family. Having power means that you could avoid all of that. If you need time off to go be with your brother who is getting married, you can take time off! That’s power. 

People seek power for three reasons. 

  1. Self-fulfillment. It’s a natural desire for humans. The assumption is that happiness is tied to happiness. If you are powerful, you will be happier in life. Having more power also protects you from people who want to abuse the little power that they have. 
  2. Money. Having more power means more money. More money means that you will have more opportunities in life and it means that you are more able to respond to the problems of life. 
  3. Bypassing laws and restrictions. People with power tend to get by more easily. I once heard that the law is like a spider web, it only catches the weak and poor. Being powerful means that you have fewer legal restrictions in life. My experience abroad has also taught me that those who are powerful, can get more done efficiently. 
  4. Control of others. Let’s face it, some people only want a higher position because they desire to yield control over the lives of others. I hope that is not one of your desires. In order to have power, some people believe that they must have it over something or someone. This belief is actually a weakness in my opinion. 

Let’s look at the apostle Paul. He was a Christian killer before he was a Christian leader. He had the power of life and death at the tip of his tongue and sword. His power could be used to coerce his victim out of money or to buy political influence. His power could be used to gain favor at the expense of others. He was brutal. 

Towards the end of his life, Paul came upon another power. A power that would make his name go on forever. That was the power to help people by introducing them to the love of Jesus Christ. All power is not about abuse and subjugation. Power, like the power of Christ, can be used to change lives for the better. The power that you come across is a blessing and can be used to build up those around you or tear them down. The good news is that you get to choose how it’s used. 

Terrance Thomas

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