"With great power comes great responsibility"
This quote, by uncle Ben, from the Spider-Man movie can be traced back to 1793 France, in a document issued by the French National Convention.
"They must consider that great responsibility follows inseparably from great power."
Regardless of the exact origin of this quote, we see that Jesus is making a comparison between what you have been given and your attitude towards it. Power along with anything else such as time, talents, treasure, opportunities—and everything God has given you—comes with a responsibility to handle it correctly.
Luke 12:47-48 EASY A servant may know what his master wants him to do. Then he should prepare himself and do that. If he does not, his master will punish him very much. He will hit him a lot. But another servant perhaps does not know what his master wants him to do. So he does wrong things. The master will punish him because he did those wrong things. But he will not hit him as much. If God gives a lot to somebody, he will want a lot back in return. And God will want much more from the person to whom he has given authority over much more. (emphasis mine)
Power is very interesting. If used properly it can have wonderful results for those who have it and those for whom it is exercised. However, placed in the wrong hands, power can be disastrous for the one who has it—and everyone around them.
God given power does not mean:
1. Your Power Makes You Greater Than Someone Else
1 Corinthians 12:19-22 EASY If our body was all the same part, it would not be a proper body. But as it is, a body has many parts. It is still only one whole body. For that reason, the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you.’ And the head cannot say to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’ No. Even the parts of a body that seem to be weaker are very necessary.
The interesting thing about the body of Christ is that every part matters. The parts that have more power are more visible, but notice the parts that are weaker are indispensable. That means the body cannot function without them.
If God has given you more power it is not meant to lord it over anyone. It should be humbling; because it simply means you have more to answer for.
2. Your Power Doesn't Mean That You Are Independent
John 15:5 EASY I am the vine , and you are the branches. You must remain in me and I must remain in you. Only if you do that will you make plenty of fruit. That is because you can do nothing without me.
As much as God gives power, you must remember the source and the purpose. God’s desire is to help you bear much fruit. However, you cannot bear fruit unless you remain connected to the vine.
Therefore, as powerful as a person may think they are...in reality, their power only works as long as they stay connected to Jesus. You cannot accomplish things for the kingdom of God apart from the power of God.
Even though God gives you the power and the responsibility, it was never designed to be used apart from him.
Here are three things you are responsible for because of the power God has given you:
1. Power to Witness
Acts 1:7-8 EASY Jesus replied, ‘My Father decides when things will happen in the world. You do not need to know what day or time that this will happen. But the Holy Spirit will come to you, and he will give you power. The Holy Spirit will make your spirit strong. Then you will tell other people everywhere in the world about me. You will do that in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria and in places far away.’
Every Christian is empowered with the responsibility of sharing the gospel and being a witness for Jesus. The reason you're able to do this is because God has given you the Holy Spirit...so you can do this effectively.
You live in a community, have a job, and have friends or family members who don’t know Jesus. These are all places you can be a witness. God has given you the power—now it is your responsibility to do what he requires.
2. Power to Live Holy
1 Peter 1:15-16 NLT But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
Romans 8:13 EASY If you agree to live in that way, you will die. Instead, you should let God's Spirit help you with his power. Then you can stop doing the wrong things that your bodies want to do. As a result, you will have life with God.
Galatians 5:16 EASY So, this is what I say: Let God's Spirit show you how to live in a good way. Then you will not do the wrong things that you may want to do, as people who are weak and human.
In the "old days" holiness was still important in the church, but can you remember the last time your pastor preached about holiness? God has given us the responsibility to live holy. The word simply means to be set apart for God’s specific use.
For God to use you, there needs to be a separation from intentionally living a sinful lifestyle.
The good news is that God doesn’t just say live holy, he empowers you to do it by the Holy Spirit.
As Christians, great power and responsibility come with the Holy Spirit's ability to carry out what God expects through you. That's why there is no excuse. How amazing God is that he doesn’t just ask or tell you to do something—he makes sure you have everything you need to do what he asks. He makes sure you have the power to carry out the responsibility.
3. Power to Pray
Romans 8:26 EASY God's Spirit also helps us to do this. Because we are weak, we do not know how we ought to pray. But God's Spirit himself prays for us. He cries to God on our behalf in a way that nobody could say with words.
One of the most fundamental disciplines we have is prayer. Prayer is when we give God access to interrupt and intervene in our earthly situations. Prayer by itself comes with great power and great responsibility.
For Christians, this is the greatest weapon you have. Yet prayer is not just a weapon, prayer is also the place of surrender. And, of greatest importance, it is the place of communion. Prayer is the place you can sit at the feet of Jesus. Where you can enjoy his presence and where you can commune with your Heavenly Father. It is a place of great power but also a place of great responsibility.
Prayer is the place that allows you to impact things in the heavens through spiritual warfare and things on the earth by seeking Godly intervention. God gives you his Spirit to help you even in prayer. To sum it up, great power does come with great responsibility. But for Christians it also comes with the power to carry out the responsibility.
The tie between power and responsibility is grace.
Grace is God giving to us what we don’t deserve. As this applies to power, God entrusts you to partner with him. He gives you the right and the responsibility to do his will in the earth. On the other side, grace doesn’t just entrust, grace empowers. God gives you the responsibility by grace and then he gives you the power to carry it out all by his grace.
1 Corinthians 15:10 CEV But God treated me with undeserved grace! He made me what I am, and his grace wasn't wasted. I worked much harder than any of the other apostles, although it was really God's grace at work and not me.
God has given you capabilities, but they're worthless unless you're plugged in to his power through the Holy Spirit. With Christ, you have everything you need to live with confidence.
Philippians 4:13 AMP I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]
As you go forward, you can trust that as God entrusts you with more, he will also empower you...so you can handle what he has entrusted you with, in the proper fashion.
Our responsibility is to work hard in the kingdom of God and we can do it by the power that comes from God’s grace. Because after all...with great power comes great responsibility.