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Friday, March 15, 2013

Winning at Monopoly

monopoly (mə•nop'ə•lē) noun 1. the exclusive possession or control of the means to produce or supply of a commodity or service … 4. exclusive possession or control

For an eight-year-old playing a board game, Monopoly is defined by pewter tokens, an extra turn on doubles, and acquiring matching colored cards. Getting ahead comes by bold use of assets, and "share the wealth" means you pay me to come on my property. The satisfaction of winning comes when I prevail over everything that others once owned and build up a monopoly.

At least that's how I describe it to my eight-year-old. The only version he knows is Bibleopoly. He still gets extra turns on doubles and acquires those matching colored cards, but "share the wealth" means I'm offering what I have so we can both build churches. You can get ahead by reciting John 3:16 or naming 15 out of 24 Bible cities. Satisfaction comes in choosing the space to which you send another player, with an opportunity to take away or give.

So the child of a thousand questions and I roll dice and talk about absolute control, and about the One with exclusive possession and control of everything. And we realize that sovereign and omnipotent God is both a monopoly and the opposite of a monopoly. Our Lord is securely in control, yet also releases control to us in liberal provision of both free will and free access to His power—a downright dangerous combination when you really think about it.

"And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.' "
~ Luke 15:31, Parable of the Prodigal Son (NKJV)

The prodigal son's father no doubt knew the character of his impudent son when handing over the inheritance. However disappointed the father, it surely came as no surprise that his younger son quickly made off with his newfound fortune and soon lost it. Shouldn't a good father have acted more sensibly?

And yet our good Father has a liberal hand with His careless children.

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.
~ John 1:16 (NKJV)

To be sure, access to unlimited power doesn't equal use of unlimited power any more than an electrical outlet enables use of the entire power grid. I can connect to the entire source of electricity, but I'm enabled to handle only as much as my electrical lines can transmit and my electrical gadget can translate.

God's Holy Spirit does not enable anything or everything we ask. The Holy Spirit always acts in accordance with God's will, and He operates more fully and freely in the soul more fully and freely given over to Him rather than the soul filled with self-will. But our Lord does bestow spiritual gifts—valuable gifts with spiritual power of their own—to sons and daughters who don't always use them wisely.

"… for God does not give the Spirit by measure."
~ John 3:34 (NKJV)

For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
~ Romans 11:29 (NKJV)

However we might misuse or bury our spiritual gifts, our Father doesn't take them back. Whatever childish way we ask to use either spiritual gifts or temporal gifts, our Father doesn't cut off our access to the power He shares with us.

By His grace, and patience, and the ministry of His Holy Spirit, God brings us to the place where we utilize His power not only to prevail over demonic serpents (toward the day of a spiritual monopoly), but also in building the Kingdom we are destined to inherit.

"I have given you power to tread serpents and scorpions underfoot, and to trample on all the power of the Enemy; and in no case shall anything do you harm. Nevertheless rejoice not at this, that the spirits submit to you; but rejoice that your names are registered in Heaven."
~ Luke 10:19-20 (WNT)

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  1. So glad that the Holy Spirit has God's best interest in mind instead of ours. What a mess we make of things already. I have always loved Romans 8 where it says, "...the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

    Yes, he only intercedes for us in accordance with God's will and he is also presenting/fixing our requests before God when we are weak. So glad that what needs to be limited for us, is limited!

    1. Mary, I REALLY like your closing remark. Indeed!

      So glad that what needs to be limited for us, is limited!


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