Presidents, Popes, and Principalities

The Paper Portrait

During a tour of the Bureau of Printing and Engraving in Washington D.C., my vacation partner and I reached the room with stacks and stacks of bills. The tour guide explained the process how the unique cotton/linen blend that makes up our paper currency becomes legal tender. Fascinating stuff.

Looking down in that room where there were pallets of large sheets of hundreds, I realized that I had more money in my purse than there was in that room. Say, what!? Those bills were just printed paper with Benjamin Franklin’s engraving on it. Until they get a serial number on them, they’re basically kindling.

One single dollar bill is more powerful with a serial number than a hundred million bills without.

And oh, do the spiritual applications now write themselves! In fact, if you need to stop here because you just had a spiritual application pop into your mind, feel free to share it with me in the comments or on Facebook. Otherwise, I just have a few random thoughts about power and those who wield it.

The Commander in Chief

We start with the fact that it is President’s Day. As Americans, we consider our President the most powerful man in the world. In many ways, he does have a lot ability to do things. But sometimes what the President can do stacks up to a whole bunch of paper money.

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. — Proverbs 16:32

I will never be President, but by biting my tongue and controlling my emotions rather than than allowing them to control me, I am more powerful than one who conquers a city (or a nation). This temporal world and all it’s rulers may seem important, but it is the spiritual realm that is most important.

I can’t make peace treaties, but I can make peace with those who wrong me and those I have wronged.

The Bishop of Rome

Recently, I’ve been rather tickled by an idea. In the Catholic church, you have a hierarchy of Priests, Bishops, Cardinals (and many other titles) capped off by “the Holy Father” himself, the Pope. This is from Wikipedia: “As of 29 January 2017, the ecclesiastical jurisdiction statistics is as follows; 1 Paal See, 9 Patriarchates, 4 Major Archdioceses, 553 Metropolitan Archdioceses, 77 Archdioceses, 2,222 Dioceses, 42 Prelatures” … blah, blah, blah. On it goes from there. I don’t even recognize half the words.

As one of those crazy people that believes the Bible when it says “there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (I Timothy 2:5), I tend to believe that. The Pope may wield much power in the Catholic church. People may think he speaks for all Christians; he doesn’t.  But little ol’ me is just as close to God as Pope Francis is. I don’t know Francis’s heart, but if he is not saved then I am actually closer to God than he is.

The Pope may have the Holy See, I have the Holy Spirit.

The Ruler of Darkness

I want to start this section by saying I do not want to make it seem like I’m equating Donald Trump and Pope Francis with the devil. They are men to whom the grace of God can still save and sanctify. Satan is beyond such salvation.

Currently, Satan has a lot of power in this world. He’s called the “prince of the power of the air.” (Ephesians 2:2). His power, however, is only temporary until his final defeat. Nor is his power unlimited. He cannot thwart God’s purposes or overstep the boundaries the Almighty sets.

Yes, like all other rulers — physical and spiritual — even Satan is subject to the authority of the Son of God (Matt 28:18, Rom 13:1, Eph 1:20-23, Col 2:10).

While I cannot and should not minimize Satan’s power in the world, I do not have to fear it.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. — I John 4:4

The Disciple of Christ

And so, here at the end of my post, I will adjust my metaphor slightly.

What gives the dollar bill in my purse or pocket power is the fact that it has value. The serial number is a stamp of approval that readies that bill for circulation.

I am valuable. I have been purchased by the blood of Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit.

I too am approved. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV)

I’m ready for circulation. “19 ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

To conclude, I’d rather be a dollar bill in the hand of the Lord than a worthless fistful of dollars in the coffers of anyone else.



Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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