There is something very strange going on in the lives of many Christians I know. It seems to me that they possess the insidious perception that their Christianity is all about a lifestyle and/or general affiliation, so they therefore experience little in the way of power in their personal lives. But if it is true that the God on Whom they call indwells their very selves, should there not be a meaningful realization of His power in their circumstances?
That people do not see the power of God for what it is and what it means for the believer is evident in their interpretation of their circumstances and the responses that arise within them. The despair, the hopelessness, and pattern of bad choices in which they remain all indicate that there is no genuine conviction that there really is help from “on high” to sustain and aid them.
Enslaving habits, the bondage of negative attitudes and the like, as well as the ongoing brokenness resulting from relationships that are dysfunctional are all the horizontal evidences of a lack of right vertical alignment and indicate a divine disconnect. Such a disconnect, logically, results in their failure to receive such power as could (and should) be delivered to them for utilization in the lives that they lead.
Of course, the term power for many conveys various images and ideas that don’t necessarily coincide with what God Himself necessarily intends for us in the hum-drum rolling along of life as everyday activities and demands incessantly threaten to quagmire us in ruts of boring tedium or stressful anxiety.
For instance, when many use the word “power,” they envision earthquakes, fire, mighty winds, and thunderous booms. Others see it as a prodigious means to things like financial excess, vocational success, popularity and acclaim, or even divine healings. Obviously, a God Who can speak entire galaxies into existence and knows when even the smallest songbird falls to the ground can (and does) at times manifest such power according to His loving and eternal purposes.
But the greater miracles and the most profound workings of His power are done invisibly and must be sought for inwardly. In the Gospel of Luke chapter 5, verses 17-26, the Bible recounts Jesus’ encounter with a man who was paralyzed. The man’s friends, after a short misadventure involving some minor demolition of a man’s house, lower their paralytic friend in front of Jesus Who promptly does a work of awesome power: forgiving the man’s sins. Those witness to the proceedings casually dismiss Jesus’ words (and works) as a “non-miracle” (because they couldn’t see it), but the Lord then backs up what is the genuine outworking of His power (forgiving sin) by a simple restoring of strength to the man’s legs.
“Which is easier,” Jesus says to them in verse 23, “to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk?” The point is clearly that what people wanted in their small-mindedness and lack of authentic spirituality is a short-cut for what faith really is: daring to trust God on His terms and entrusting ourselves to Him in obedience.
While some will tell you that faith is all about insisting on God doing things our way and in our time, real faith is risking ourselves on believing both in God’s power to turn “all things for good for those who trust Him and those called according to His purpose” (see Romans 8:28) and also in God’s everlasting love that is willing to subject us to temporary measures of suffering in order to produce in and for us (and for His glory) an eternal victory.
Where does such power come from? It comes from reading (and believing) His Word, the Bible. Do you want more of God’s power in your life? There is only one remedy then for your desire: obey His Word.
After all, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him Who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV).
(Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 23 ½ years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org).