In Spirit Blog

Powerful PersonPerhaps you have heard it said that you are a “powerful person”.  It is a very common phrase used lately in various spiritual settings.  As with any word or phrase that becomes heavily used and popular, it is sometimes wise to stop and ask “What does that mean?” This is especially important when someone describes you that way.  What are they trying to say?

Most times that I have heard this phrase, the person uttering it appears to be trying to say that their intended target is fully able to make decisions, act on them and impact the world around them as they do so.  There is often an implication that said person has access to an external power source that if correctly plugged in will enable an even greater mark to be left by the “powerful person”.  So far, so good.  The tricky part comes next.  Does the person need permission or approval of another (associate, leader, person in authority) before exercising their power?  or perhaps more importantly, will the person exercising their power be recognized or validated by others or the person proclaiming them as “powerful”? Now the real meaning of the phrase and the intent of the person saying it begins to come into view.

While there are many examples of powerful people in scripture that we could explore as illustrations of this concept, there are few better than Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel and Stephen, the person stoned to death in the 1st century in the early days of the church.  They both impacted the world in a profound way and give us an excellent picture of what a “powerful person” truly looks like.

Hannah (1 Samuel chapter 1 and 2)

Hannah was a childless Hebrew woman living in Israel during the time of Eli the High Priest.  Things were not well in the nation at the time.  The word of the Lord was rare and Eli’s sons, Hophni and Phineas, also priests, were corrupt and a hugely negative influence on all of the activity in the house of the Lord at Shiloh.  Eli did nothing about this which likely had much to do with the rarity of the word of the Lord at the time.  Enter Hannah.

Being a childless woman was humiliating in the Hebrew culture at that time.  Hannah was mercilessly mocked by her rival wife Peninnah and was in great anguish about her situation.  She went to Shiloh to pray (in private) and plead with the Lord to give her a son.  Even her intercession was misunderstood by Eli as the babbling of a drunken woman which likely added to her anguish.  In that state she vowed that if the Lord would open her womb that she would give her son back to God to serve him all the days of his life.  She would not be denied.  God gave her the son she asked for and once he was weaned she kept her word and brought the boy Samuel back to Eli.  Samuel grew up to be possibly the most powerful prophet in Israel’s history, anointing Saul and David as kings.  That is one powerful woman!

Stephen (Acts chapter 6 and 7)

Stephen was young man in the early church in Jerusalem who was appointed with 6 others to serve the Hellenistic Jewish believers (those of Greek descent) because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food.  What is interesting about Stephen is that it appears that his influence expanded much further than simply waiting on tables as he became someone known for performing many miracles signs and wonders.  When he was challenged by members of a local Jewish synagogue, he eventually found himself in front of the Sanhedrin, the highest authority of the Jewish faith, and the High Priest, defending his actions and proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah.  He went much further than this and delivered an awesome history lesson, summarizing Israel’s consistent rejection of God’s prophets and messengers finishing with this thunderous condemnation:

“Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him, you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” – Act 7:52, 53

This message resulted in him being stoned to death, during which time Jesus stood in heaven to receive him.  Jesus is normally seated at the right hand of the Father so this was significant.  Following this incident, the local religious authorities were so threatened that persecution of the early Jerusalem church increased and the believers were scattered all over Judea and Samaria.  A powerful man indeed!

What do Hannah and Stephen have in common?

  • They were not content to remain in their current situation and pressed in for more.
  • They did not seek approval from anyone to do so.
  • They were willing to accept responsibility for the consequences of their actions.
  • They saw the Lord as their ultimate source and validation and acted on that belief.

That is a truly powerful person.

Many of us have or are current living with a perspective that we need another person’s permission, approval or endorsement to step out and make an impact on our world.  Hear the words of Jesus:

You give them something to eat.” Matt 14:16

“You are the light of the world.” Matt 5:14

“Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'”  – Luke 10:9

“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

What are you waiting for?  Hannah and Stephen have shown you the way…

Showing 12 comments
  • k.noel

    Nice post, with great reflection.

  • Jacob

    This is sooo good! I was listening to David Hogan yesterday at the gym and he said pretty much the same thing, “What are you waiting for? In my Bible it says, “Go!”… not wait around for the elder board to give your permission.” Haha! Genius! You would’ve thought that Jesus actually gave us permission to change the world?

  • Cheryl H.

    Rather than similarities I see huge differences

    Hannah had an ulterior motive – she made a deal with God -I wonder if her zeal for God would have been as intense if she had already had children. After giving Samuel to Levi did she go up for the yearly sacrifice to see her first born or just to thank God? Did she still have an ulterior motive?

    Stephen, on the other hand, was sold out to God and didn’t care about anything else. Although I don’t know if he was one of the 120 in the upper room, he certainly had the Baptism of Fire which is sadly lacking in this day and age.

    I understand what you are saying but just don’t see the similarities. Sorry if this sounds negative.

    • B2E Group

      No need to apologize. We like this kind of dialogue.

      While Hannah and Stephen’s stories are very different if the grid is public ministry and “Baptism of Fire” as demonstrated in the first century church, both of them were sold out to God. Remember that the corruption and immorality of Eli, Hophni and Phineas were well known to everyone. Can you imagine giving your young son to that crew to be raised? Also, during Hannah’s yearly visits to Samuel she brought him a new robe and gave it to him (1 Sam 2:19). Think about that as a prophetic act and the time she put into making each one and the intercession that likely went with it (there are clues to this in her discourse in the early part of 1 Sam 2). Maybe the artists out there have comments or insights?

      The point of this blog was about being a powerful person. While very different in their public manifestation, both Stephen and Hannah used everything God placed in their hands and acted. Powerful!

  • k.noel

    Cheryl- I think it comes down to a level of faith. Hannah and Stephen both pressed in regardless of the consequences by man and ultimately their stance mattered only to them by God.

    • B2E Group

      Well put K. See our reply to Cheryl on the artist angle re: Hannah’s annual gift of robes to Samuel. Would be interested in your insights.

      • k.noel

        I can see several things in the robes. First Its a maternal blessing being cloaked over him. A patchwork of intercessory prayer of wishes, hopes and dreams and calling on his life. Nothing more special and of heavy weight is to have a parent or spiritual mentor or person of higher stature give a blessing and a wave of hedge of protection… probably not only through her pregnancy but beyond the womb too. This is of heavy weight, there is much to say about a praying/intercessor mother over her children. And then every year she brings another, almost like a battery pack recharged. Its amazing thought really. Makes me want to do something similar. 🙂

        • B2E Group

          This is awesome insight K. Keep digging the gold out of the Hannah story. You have struck a rich vein.

  • Jessica Sanders

    This is great, especially since the term “powerful person” is being used a lot lately, in various circles…..I remember in ministry schools, hearing teaching on this topic, and being told to rise up, etc., but always having to jump through lots of hoops to attain approval, or permission to be considered authorized to actually walk as a powerful person in Christ….the irony of it is interesting, but missed by many I think, lol…. -Obviously we need relationship, and accountability with each other, but the control that happens in majority settings is a whole different story.

    • B2E Group

      Interesting isn’t it. A good test of how powerful others think you are is whether or not they fully release you to be so…

  • James Thomas Canali

    As I walk in the SEE program and with mentors in my life this is an important banner, to let God word give me the permission, but to receive the perspective of those around me, above me…I really value the paradigm shift on power people…

    • B2E Group

      Yah. Jesus never held anyone longer than three years. In fact, he was releasing the 12 long before the end of his ministry. This is too often the opposite of what happens in the IRS. You have been empowered by the only person that matters.

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