I stumbled across a statement written by M. Scott Peck, MD in his book, "The Road Less Traveled." I read this statement in July. It swirled in my mind for the last few months. It's a huge statement! It clarifies a lot of truths that, when applied to daily life, can change a person forever.
Here is the statement:
"[Spiritual power] is the capacity to make decisions with maximum awareness. It is consciousness." (Peck, The Road Less Traveled, p285.)
Dr. Peck explains that there are two types of power in this world: political power and spiritual power. Political power is the ability to direct or coerce another person based on the position you have, or based on the money you wield. This power does not reside within that individual per se, but upon the position that he or she holds.
For example, a policeman walks up to your vehicle. He asks you for your driver's license, registration, and insurance card. You oblige without a word. You recognize the political power he wields, and you obey. A parent tells a child to do something. The child does it because the parent is his authority and he does not want to face the consequences of privileges taken or punishments given. Your boss tells you to finish a project over the weekend. You sacrifice the weekend and “get 'er done” because: a) he's your boss, and b) he pays your bills.
All of these people, if stripped of their position of authority, will not be able to coerce you to do anything. We all have parents who made us do a number of undesirable things in
our growing up years. Now that we are independent adults that flew the nest long ago, now if Mom says, "Eat your veggies, dear..." we say with a grin, "Mom, you are so cute!"
Spiritual power, however, lies within the individual regardless of that person's political or socioeconomic status. He may not be wealthy or famous or hold any title or position at all. Yet when he walks in the room, the whole room gains an awareness of his influence that wasn't there before.
Jesus rejected the greatest political power when Satan offered him "all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory." (Matthew 4:8). Instead, he died seemingly impotent, shamefully hanging on a cross. Jesus rejected political power but wielded the greatest spiritual power on earth. His message has the greatest and most enduring influence in all of human history.
Dr. Peck defined spiritual power as "the capacity to make decisions with the maximum awareness." Pastor Dan preached this statement before. He said, "You will be lead through life by your greatest awareness." He also said, "Whatever you focus on, expands."
Someone said to me, "My sister was deadly afraid of snakes. She would walk through the tall grass in our backyard banging two pot lids together because she was so afraid of snakes in the grass."
All of a sudden I became aware of the possibility of snakes as I tread through tall grass in the meadow just beyond my backyard. I walked through there mindlessly hundreds of times before, but now the fear of snakes attempts to find agreement in me and gain spiritual eminence in my psyche.
What is the spiritual power in your life? It all depends on what you are constantly aware of.
Pastor Dan preached this. When I am always aware of the sin in my life - how long I've refrained from sinning or how guilty I feel about sinning, or how many brownie points I've gained from having good behavior- I have made sin my master instead of the Lord Jesus. When my greatest awareness in life is how much of a good Christian I am, I have made Christianity my lord instead of Christ. Whatever my greatest awareness is, that is my lord.
Spiritual power is whatever I allow myself to be aware of. When I give my awareness to the curbing of sin, it becomes my lord, the one who directs me and motivates me through life.
When I am aware of the things that make me feel guilty, I either avoid those things or overcompensate. This causes guilt to become my spiritual authority. This kind of person is bowed down by obligation and boiling over with resentment.
One time a young lady brought her two darling nieces to piano lessons. She forgot to pack their music books. I had copies of their music in my studio. I said, "Don't run back to get it. I have copies of their music here."
She said, "I have to run back and get it. It will make me feel like a better auntie."
I said, "How long will it take for you to go home and get it?"
She said, "It will take me 25 minutes."
I said, "That means by the time you get back here, we will have a 5 minute lesson. Just forget about it."
Her face was flustered, guilt-ridden, and unconvinced.
I laughed in great amusement and said, "Did you know that guilt is the All-American disease among White-Middle-Class women?"
I humored her some, and soon, she relaxed and was able to stop feeling bad. She dropped her awareness of guilt and began to notice other things, like how nicely her nieces played piano or how pleasant it was to sit and relax for a moment, on this sunny afternoon...
Whatever you are aware of becomes your master.
One time I went to the gym to meet with a personal trainer. She showed me how to use the different equipment and gave me a chart of my weekly regimen. While she was doing this, a mentally retarded sixteen-year-old girl was in the room eyeing us. She said, "This is one of the girls that I adopted. She is a little mental and has a jealousy problem. Right now she's just really upset that I'm spending so much time with you."
I have never seen these two people in my life and just wanted to have a professional relationship with my trainer and get my money's worth. Her job was to show me the right way to lift weights. I couldn't discern at all that her adopted girl was fuming inside. She had a deadpan facial expression and just sat there, looking at us. I had no awareness of the girl's jealousy. I could not even relate.
However, my trainer had a huge awareness of it. It affected her tremendously. She became intimidated and distracted. She shortened my training session and was not able to do her job well. I came into the gym for a couple days that week and ended up hurting my neck for a month.
Her awareness was another person's jealousy. That jealousy became the spiritual master in her life. To her, it felt like a cloud of heaviness hanging in the air. It controlled and manipulated her actions. However, to a bystander like me, my lack of awareness prevented me from feeling anything. It could not control me. My freedom was not curbed by it. My lack of awareness gave it no power over me.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.
The word "acknowledge" in the Hebrew is "to know for a certainty by seeing..."
This scripture does not mean we need to send God updates of our recent activity, as we do for people on Facebook. "God, I'm about to go in for a job interview..." or, "God, I'm in the middle of a golf tournament!" It's not this kind of acknowledgment the Bible talks about.
This is the kind of acknowledgement that Jesus had. Jesus said, "I do nothing except what I see the Father doing." Jesus acknowledges the Father by being constantly aware of Him. This awareness comes from having spiritual eyes open and the strings of his heart pulled taut following the Father's heart. It is a close relationship between Father and Son.
When people fall in love, they gain a phenomenal awareness of each other. Back in the 90’s we had a Bible study for college kids. I saw two love birds in our Bible Study together. The girl got up and walked to the kitchen and the guy was engaging in the group discussion but the corner of his eye followed her into the kitchen. She holds the spiritual power of love in his life because of his awareness of her.
I want God to hold the spiritual power of love in my life. God is Love, and when we see Him with eyes of love, we can follow Him THAT CLOSELY. Jesus followed His Father that closely. Jesus acknowledged God in all His ways by being constantly aware of what the Father was doing. Perhaps He walked on water for no other reason than he saw Abba Father roll up His pant legs and step into the water. Jesus responded by saying, "Wait for me! I'm coming!"
When I choose to be aware of my fleshly insecurities, jealousies, depression, and pressing needs - I make these things the spiritual power in my life. These things will direct my paths. They will be powerful forces that shape my behavior and influence all my decisions.
But when I choose to lessen the awareness of these fleshly things, they lose their power over me. I become like Martin Luther who woke up in the middle of the night seeing Satan standing there beside his bed in bodily form - and he said, "Oh, it's you!" He rolled over and fell asleep again.
The lack of awareness for Satan depletes him of his power.
When I choose to make God the greatest awareness in my life, all of a sudden my world becomes totally different. The ebb and flow of daily activity no longer becomes drudgery, but a passionate pursuit of His Truth and His Kingdom. It becomes a journey of walking as a spiritual person. Jesus explained to Nicodemus the way of the spiritual man. I think he was talking about Himself.
John 3:8 "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Jesus, perfect example of a spiritual man, was describing the life of one whose greatest awareness is God. A spiritual man is like a leaf being blown by the wind. The direction and thrust of his entire life is directed by God’s Spirit, only because the leaf is SENSITIVE and HIGHLY AWARE of the wind.
Ps 32:9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you."
The horse or the mule is aware of the tugging and restraining power of the bit and bridle on him. The horse's massive body and the direction of all of his energy is controlled by that bit pulling his mouth.
So many times people allow themselves to also be like the horse or mule with no understanding. The power that lord over them is their finances or need for security or the concerns at hand. Those are the things that consume their vision and become their greatest awareness.
But there is a better way. There is the way of Jesus, who doesn't need bit or bridle. He is aware of the voice of the Father saying, "Come hither." He is aware of the Father's broad back walking a few paces before Him, and without a halt, Jesus follows. Jesus is directed by his spiritual awareness, and He has made a way for us to follow His footsteps.
Come, let us follow the footsteps of Jesus, our teacher and example. Let us follow Him, for in following, He shows us how to be spiritual...
Prayer: God, I want Abba Father to be the spiritual authority, the spiritual power that directs my daily life. Lord, increase my awareness for you. Let me learn the ways of Jesus. Open my eyes that I can see what Father is doing...Let my life be as a leaf, sensitive to all the ways of the wind...Let me experience life as a spiritual human being. Decrease my awareness for all other things. Lord, take me to the place of having little to no awareness for physical needs. I no longer want to be like a horse tugged by the bit and bridle – driven by needs and curbed by conscience - but like a horse who obeys by the voice of his Master. Teach me to hear your voice, dear God...