Power Controlled

I think some of the most precious pictures I have are of my dad holding me as a newborn baby. His  skin is dark and tough from working out in the sun. Mine is soft and delicate. He cradles me in his arms – arms that are strong from years of heavy manual farm work. His big hands support my fragile frame. That’s power controlled.

A gymnast flips on the balance beam and lands firm on her feet. She pauses. With determination she performs another flip to dismount. She lands. She sticks it. This is power controlled.

She glances at the rack of dresses. They would flatter her figure … maybe a little too much. They would look good on her, making it hard to walk away. But she does. And she chooses a stylish, less revealing dress. THAT’S power controlled.

I believe that when God tells woman to dress modestly in the Bible, He’s not implying beauty is evil. He isn’t saying being attractive is wrong … that’s how He designed us. He is saying our beauty has incredible power {think of Bathsheba and David}. So, in most circumstances, He tells us to control that power.

No, He isn’t stifling our freedom … He is providing it. The Inventor of beauty wants us to be free from guilt, shame, and bondage to what would harm us. He knows we won’t find what we’re looking for in beauty and attention from others. So He tells us what’s more beautiful. Love {which, in this case, is expressed by controlling our power}.

Christ Himself gave us the ultimate example of this power controlled … this love. Philippians 2: 5-8 says:

 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (NIV)

By “being made in human likeness” Christ had to control His power. It didn’t go away {He was still “in very nature God”}. But He didn’t grasp for that power. He didn’t use it “to his own advantage.” He humbly chose to obey to His Father … even at an extremely high price. He did this for us, but more importantly, for His Father. This is real beauty.

And we’re called to display this beauty too. We’re commanded to have the same mindset in our relationships with others. So what will help them? What will draw attention to God?

To be honest, I feel like a bit of a hypocrite writing this. I fail at this all the time. I do find myself dressing with my own interests motivating me rather than what would help others and draw attention to God. And that’s part of the reason why I’m writing this.

One more thing. Like verses 9-11 say in Philippians 2 about how God will exalt Christ because of His obedience, I believe God will honor us too when we choose to obey Him and control our power. And like when Christ will be exalted, it will all be “to the glory of God the Father” (NIV).

So let’s not be a distraction, but help direct other’s gaze up toward God.

 

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