Many people imagine that power is a matter of being able to command one’s outer world as one wishes. It’s a matter of being able to accomplish one’s goals. It’s a matter of being able to command the needed resources - money, time, opportunity, tools, workers. In this view, leaders have power; wealthy people have power; those with physical strength or beauty have power.
It’s tempting to think that if we only had this kind of power, we could set up our lives to be happy. If we only had the right kind of house or neighbourhood... If we only had the right equipment, the right tools to do what we need or want to do...If we could only afford the right school or the right educational opportunities for our children... If we only had the influence to ‘buy’ time to nurture our own needs or interests more, or to secure the right job position or work environment...
‘...the power that angels enjoy does not come from their outer wealth or tools or opportunities...’
In the long run these kinds of power are indeed significant to the quality of our natural and spiritual life. For example, in heaven - the ideal world - our spirit will be given such powers, if they are useful for us. Our love will be able to express itself in a job with a suitable work environment and opportunities to serve. We will enjoy know-how and wisdom. We will enjoy a sufficient level of wealth, with a home and belongings that complete it. This kind of power is necessary to completing our happiness.
On the other hand, the power that angels enjoy does not come from their outer wealth or tools or opportunities, it comes from their love. It can’t be gained from without - can’t be bought or inherited, seized by force or chanced upon. It can only be gained from within, through nurturing the right love and attitude, through coming to accept the right love and attitude from the Lord.
Contrasting physical power with spiritual power, the Writings offer us this interesting definition: ‘spiritual power is to will the good of another, and to will to convey to another as far as possible what is with oneself’ - Apocalypse Explained 79. To will the good of another... to will to convey...
Spiritual power - the Lord’s power - is present with us so far as we are wishing well toward others and trying to convey to them (with as much wisdom as we can muster) what we have to give. So far as we are in this will and effort, nothing can harm us! Nothing can take away the inner satisfaction that our efforts bring! Nothing can destroy our peace of mind!
We don’t have to be physically strong or beautiful, wealthy or influential in society, to gain this kind of power. All we have to do is to look to the Lord and shun the evils that destroy good will.
Trust not in oppression,
nor vainly hope in robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart upon them. God has spoken once,
twice I have heard this:
that power belongs to God.