There is a lot of talk these days about the Church, good and bad. I fear, since the talk seems to be mostly bad, that we have lost sight of what the Church really is, who we are– we who make up the body of Christ. So, for a-yet-to-be-determined number of posts, I’ll be discussing ways the Bible describes the Church and what that means to us. I’ll also be ending each post with a guide for prayer, so we can join together in calling upon God to make us who he meant for us to be.
But you will receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Power is a tricky part of our faith. If we are in Christ, we are empowered by the very Spirit of God. In my experience, however, most Christians (including myself) either spend most of their time forgetting they have this power or trading it in for worldly power.
When was the last time you really, truly, sincerely prayed like God has the power to answer your prayers?
When was the last time you spoke and acted with boldness to advance God’s kingdom?
Now, when was the last time you abused the power–small or great– you had over someone else?
When was the last time you used your authority, resources, or abilities to help yourself instead of someone else?
See my point? I think we all do it in some way or another. Our use of power (or ignorance of it) is a far cry from the kind of power the New Testament says belongs to us through the Spirit.
Our power brings fear, corruption, and contention; God’s power brings hope, joy, and peace (Romans 15:13). Our power manifests itself in pride and self-sufficiency; his power is manifested in humility and faith (1 Corinthians 2:3-5). Our power is measured by greatness; his power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). Our power always points back to us; his power always points back to him (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). Our power can be wrenched from our grasp in an instant; his power will be with us, strengthening us, even through the most trying circumstances (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6).
Church, we have the power of God in us. The same power that created the world, parted the Red Sea, used underdogs to conquer giants and massive armies, raises people from the dead, heals the sick, walks on water, and saves us from our sins– that is the power harnessed by the Spirit who lives in us. We act so often like we are at the mercy of the world when the opposite is true. Yes, they may have their days now, but ultimately, there is nothing anyone can do to stop the powerful work of God. When his day comes, it will be like an atomic bomb versus a bee hive.
So there are no excuses– to ignore the power of God in us or to trade it for another kind of power. As is said in the Spiderman movies, “With great power comes great responsibility.” We have been granted this power for a purpose– and it is not to sit on our butts in safety and comfort until Jesus returns. This power is to be used– for service, love, fighting the enemy, and taking truth and justice to a lost and broken world.
For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.
– 2 Timothy 1:7-8
Let’s pray to use God’s power as we should.
Omnipotent Father, we are humbled that you would entrust us with such power, especially when we so often do not know what to do with it. Guide us and let us be open to your direction in how we are to proceed with your gifts. May we not forsake the Spirit inside of us who longs to work your mighty wonders through us. And may we not use the upside-down power of this world for our own gain, especially at the expense of others. Forgive us for when we have failed in both these ways.
Let your power work through us for your purposes and ultimately point back to you. Help us be willing and eager to be strong, bold, relentless, persuasive, loving, just, healing, faithful, unyielding, patient, holy, honest, and sacrificing for you, by your power. May you receive all the glory. There is none greater than you, God
“For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. I pray that He may grant [us], according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in [our] hearts through faith. I pray that [we], being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so [we] may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”– Ephesians 3:14-21
This song reminds me of what it is to be empowered by God:
COMMENT: When has God empowered you to do something you could never do on your own?
You can read the other posts in this series here.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy Superheroes Are Screw-Ups, Too: The Avengers in Review; No Limits, Re:Chosen (Moses); Rock-Climbing, Name-Taking, and Trusting God; Quotable: Josh Larkin; Quotable: Francis Chan; and Quotable: David Platt.