Kings with The Mind of a Slave
“When they came to Caesarea and had delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him. And when the governor had read it, he asked what province he was from. And when he understood that he was from Cilicia, he said, ‘I will hear you when your accusers also have come.’ And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s Praetorium.” (Acts 23:33-35)
Historians tell us that Felix was governor only because he was slick about marrying the right person and using family ties. Many people do things like this rather than improving themselves or trying to be quality people. One ancient historian, Tacitus, said about him, “He exercised the power of a king with the mind of a slave.”.
This text was originally a part of a Bible study I am teaching about the Book of Acts but sometimes the Lord speaks through things in the world and one thing in the world is that quote: “He exercised the power of a king with the mind of a slave.”. I believe the Lord would have me say something here about this idea.
In Revelations 1:4-6 John says that Jesus “has made us kings and priests to” God. Peter said we are a holy nation and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) and as a nation...this makes us a nation of kings and priests. Sadly, many of us rule as kings...with the mind of slaves.
Slaves think like slaves. Slaves are ALWAYS aware of that which enslaves them and so, everything they do is affected by that tyrant.
Let’s say a person is enslaved by a drug; he is a slave to that drug. Everything he does is affected or controlled by the drug. If somehow, he becomes a king, he will be a king who is a slave to that drug; he is a king who is affected by that drug. He won’t be able to rule freely as a king because the control the drug has on him will constrain him.
See what I mean?
What if the person is a slave to his past? Or to fear? Or to pride? He will rule and reign in a way that reflects his past or his fear or his pride. These will either steer or control him as a king.
Paul has been brought to Governor Felix, a ruler whose origins (according to history) caused him to give arbitrary rulings - all based on what benefited him the most. People who lack and are enslaved by lack always make sure they get theirs. According to The Life Application New Testament Commentary, “He was regarded as a poor governor. He dispensed justice arbitrarily and served his own ends. Jewish revolts increased under his administration.”. His administration reflected whatever enslaved him.
As a nation of kings and priests to our God it is very important that we discern whether there is anything enslaving us so that we might invite the Lord to address it. If not, we will never rule freely in our own lives or in the arenas entrusted to us by God. We’ll become “poor governors”.
People who TRULY receive the truth that “My God will supply all your needs according to HIS riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19) never operate consistently out of lack.
Most Christians who are familiar with that scripture instinctively take it to mean it applies purely to physical needs such as food and clothing and shelter. While those are definitely addressed by the Lord, the scripture does not limit the Lord’s supply to just the physical.
The Lord is aware that people also lack (outside of Christ) many invisible things. These would include emotional needs like love and acceptance and security and mental needs for stability, peace, clarity of mind, etc.
When Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote “My God will supply ALL your needs”, that’s what he meant to say. What would happen if we, as kings in God’s Kingdom and priests to the Lord, operated in those arenas given to us by the Lord out of a sense of abundance instead of the lack that characterizes much of humanity? I think we wouldn’t be kings with the minds of slaves; rather, we would rule as kings with the minds of kings!
This piece has been written, therefore, in hopes that we might receive the supply of the Lord and function freely and productively as kings and priests to the Lord.
Pastor Mike McInerney
Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.
© April 19, 2021
(for use with permission)