1In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered.
There is probably a bit of hyperbole here. But you get the point. When Augustus says do this, you do. You ask no questions. You make no arguments. You do not quibble or try to wheel and deal with Augustus.
You do not negotiate with Augustus. If you are one of his subjects, you are utterly at his disposal. You are powerless. You simply answer “Yes sir”, no matter how ridiculous or arbitrary his instruction might seem to you.
I do not like being the victim of the kind of power wielded by Augustus. I do not even like it when someone cuts me off in traffic or butts in front of me in line. I can sense the resistance rising from my gut. I fight against the feeling that I am losing control, that I am powerless to shape my own destiny, that I am the victim of someone else’s power.
I cling to whatever little vestiges of power I may experience in my life and do not let go easily in the face of Emperor Augustus.
The truth is, I am no different than Augustus. As much as he, I long to assert my will over life. I seek to foster the illusion that I have the power to force life to conform to my will.
But, I also know that there is no winning in this power game. There are no victors in the competition of wills. All power struggles end in pain. I need to find a different way to operate.
What is the fruit in my life of my determination to win in the clash of wills that is inevitable when one power sets itself up against another?
How can I step aside from the power struggles that are inevitable whenever we fall prey to the spirit of Augustus?