There is a teaching that has its roots in non-Christian psychology, and can be associated with men like Carl Jung, which says that power is at one end of the spectrum, while love is at the other. In fact, the teaching would have you believe, in no uncertain terms, that the more power a person has, the less love he has. It is precisely this teaching that I was exposed to while studying at seminary in 1987-88 in which one of the (well-meaning, but incorrect) professors drew a line (continuum) at which the word “power” was placed at one end of the line, and the word “love” was placed at the other end. To him, every person, and God included, would fall somewhere along this continuum. Of course God, being perfect, would fall “dead smack in the middle” of this continuum. Let’s draw it, to make it visually more clear:
Power 1—2—3—4—5 Love
Now as you can see, if you abide by this model (which the professor did), then you would be forced to conclude that one could never really move in ‘power’ if he was also going to move in ‘love’, for the two never meet. But I have a question for you: does this model which we see represented here have its roots in Scripture? We need to be careful. The Bible explicitly warns us: “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8) With this caution in mind, I’d like to now expose you to what the Scriptures really teach about true power and authority and love.
First, concerning love, the Bible says that “God is love” (1 John 4:8b). It does not say that God is ‘about’ love, but that he is love. God is not ‘loving’; he is love. “Love” is not a verb or and adjective or an adverb here; rather, love is a noun. It is the perfect description of who God is: he is love. Now that is an amazing statement. Now if we simply consider this one statement alone, we have to conclude that the ‘model’ proposed by the professor, which has its origins in modern day (deceptive) psychology, is incorrect. Because we know inherently — without even reading any Scripture — that God is all powerful, even before we would suspect that he was ‘love’, as 1 John 4:8 says that he is.
This means that the continuum needs to be redefined so that both ‘love’ and ‘power’ appear side-by-side, instead of at opposite ends of the spectrum. Whatever this ‘continuum’ looks like, Scripture makes it clear that *real* power and authority, and *real* love, belong together, side-by-side (smooching, as it were):
No longer are ‘power’ and ‘love’ at odds with one another anymore; they have now found their peace. They are no longer competing; they are co-operating. And that is the way it is to be in the Christian life, too. As we grow in the knowledge of Christ, we are to grow both in power and in love. In fact, I would have to conclude that if we don’t grow in both power as well as love, that something is amiss, for it is like the mathematician that used only one side of his brain while not exercising the intuitive, musical, creative, side, as well. As you may or may not know, both hemispheres of the brain were designed by God to grow together, and as they grow together, a proper balance is kept, for it has been scientifically shown that those people who both exercise their creative as well as analytical sides (left and right hemispheres) develop faster in these skills than the person who just focuses on one of them.
In fact, it is like a bi-metal strip, by which some thermometers are made. As you may or may not know, the bi-metal strip is made of two different materials, one that expands and contracts at a different rate than the other. When it gets cold or hot, due to the different expansion rates of the two pieces of metal, it makes the one ‘joined-together’ piece of metal ‘bend’ out of shape. But as human beings, we were not designed to be like the bi-metal coil. That is, the different hemispheres of the brain were not designed to grow apart from one another, but to grow together (straight up, as opposed to bent over to one side). And that is exactly the way it is with this thing called ‘love’ and ‘power’ as well. To grow properly, we must continue to grow in our godly knowledge and application of both of these things, as God enables us to do that. Our full potential will be realized when we do these things, not allowing the ‘love’ to bend out of shape the power, and not allowing the ‘power’ to bend out of shape the love. Both are to grow together. It was this type of love, and this type of power, that Paul referred to when he said, “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20)