What about the Power?
(Post 2 of 10 in The "S" Word series)
I was recently in a Bible Study and we were looking at Paul’s letters. One of the themes we looked at was “proclamation with power.” When Paul talked about proclaiming the Gospel, he referred to the element of power in the process:
“I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any human source, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.” -Gal. 1:11-12
“For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.” -1 Thess. 1:4-5
“And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.” - 1 Thess. 2:13
I was struck by Paul’s perspective. The Gospel message in and of itself is powerful, but Paul was talking about more than that. From his learning about it, to his proclamation of it, to others hearing about it, Paul is giving credit and validity to a supernatural component involved with proclaiming the gospel.
The power of God is new to my faith. I now look for it in Scripture and I am learning to tap into it in everyday life. So as we were studying this I began to look back on my own experiences and something surprised me: With all of the training I’ve had on evangelism and all of the opportunities I’ve had to proclaim the gospel, I realized that I had never thought about the power component. I was instead focused on the strategy, method, and the words I was going to say.
As I began to think more about this concept of proclamation with power, I began to ask myself the question, “Shouldn’t this be the way we live in all areas of our life?” Think about it. We are sons and daughters of God, sons and daughters of the King. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us. Shouldn’t all areas of our lives be lived with power? Why don’t we talk about:
Parenting with power
Loving with power
Leading with a different kind of power
Working with power
Strategizing with power
Serving with power
What I’ve come to realize in my own life and in the lives of my fellow evangelicals around me, is that we don’t even think about power. It’s not even on our radar. Whether it’s a lack of understanding, fear based on abuse we have seen, or just not having much experience with the Holy Spirit (all valid reasons), we really don’t think about power beyond the supernatural event of forgiveness, salvation, and being “born again”.
So, my friends, it’s time we changed that. We have the opportunity to be different. To live differently. To be a peculiar kind of people. All that we do, our entire lives, have the potential to be supernaturally infused with the power of God.
How does this look? Here are a few ideas:
Parenting with power: If you have kids, you know that parenting is an always moving target. What if we did more listening prayer and asked God for supernatural discernment as to what was going on in our kids’ hearts and minds?
Loving with power: After you’ve been married for a few years, you understand the reality of choosing love and the power of being loved when you’re in the wrong. Are we sitting with the Father and experiencing his transformational love for us so that our buckets are full and we can then go to our loved ones with overflowing buckets? It is not just knowing in our heads about God’s love, or knowing some scriptures about God’s love, but experiencing his love. Are we asking God for supernatural strength and grace to love those that are hard to love and asking God to give us his eyes and perspective toward those people?
Leading with a different kind of power: What if we had the habit of speaking blessing over those we are called to lead? Proclaiming truth over them… truth about who they are, who God has created them to be, and truth about where we see them headed. We have the power and authority to bless those we lead.
Working with power: Do you depend on your own strength, talents, and gifting as you work? Have you ever asked for supernatural strength, wisdom, or favor as you go? What if we abided in such a way and asked with expectation anticipating that we would see supernatural results from the work of our hands?
Strategizing with power: Have you ever stopped and done listening prayer in a strategy meeting or on your own if your work context wouldn’t allow for that? Do you believe the Holy Spirit as the Helper wants to give you discernment and wisdom as you plan and strategize? This has become a key component on my team at work. We have "Strategic Advances" three times a year, and we always take 30-45 minutes at some point during the 4-6 hour meeting and listen to see what God has for us. It's probably not surprising that our best ideas, and the ones that have produced the most fruit, are the ideas that have come from God during that listening section. Also, almost every time, multiple people are discerning the same content from the Lord. God confirming his voice to a group in this way is so kind and gracious and it also speaks to the importance and power of community.
Serving with power: The other day I got home from work and Jamie said, “I want to quit my job… I want a new job.” Her job right now is being present to our three kids and investing in them. Our littlest, Mae, is 3 and is amazingly cute but is also quite demanding right now. I gave Jam the evening off to have some alone time and some girl time. The reason I give that example, is because when I think about serving, I immediately think about mothers. They give so much of themselves… and it’s a very tough job. I actually think that without supernatural strength, wisdom, and PATIENCE, I’m not sure it can be done well. I experience some of this as well, with all the pressure of work and life and providing on my shoulders, I need God’s supernatural help to be the dad and husband I want to be.
So how do we live with power? How do we tap into all the resources of the Kingdom of God and the power of the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us?
I actually think it is kind of simple really, but we have to believe it is possible. I think there are two things for us to do:
Spend time with the King
If we spend time with our Heavenly Father, he will fill us up and he will let us know what he wants us to do. Then, as we go, as we enter each day and each moment, we can ask God for what we need- strength, wisdom, discernment, favor, etc, and we will be in tune with the assignments God has for us. So again, on our end, it involves creating space and time to commune with the Trinity and listen. This is where the spiritual disciplines come in. The disciplines themselves don't transform us, they create the space to allow the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit to transform us. They create space for us to be with God. There is so much more to say about the spiritual disciplines, but to re-emphasize, the power of the disciplines is that it creates the space to be with the Trinity and allows his power to transform us.
If we live like this, as "with God" people, walking and communing with him, we will know Him this will allow him opportunity to transform us. It's from this place that we then move forward and ask God for the things we need as we attempt to be obedient to what he has called us to.
Imagine for a second if we were a people marked by God’s power? That vision of the body of Christ pumps me up! Remember, it doesn’t have to be weird or sensational. It can actually be very natural. But people will notice. Just like they did with Peter and John in Acts 4:
“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.”
A couple of questions for discussion in the comments below:
I made the claim that power is not even on our radar. Is that true for you and your community? Why or why not?
What are your thoughts about this concept of tapping into the power of God in our everyday lives?
Take some time to sit with the Father this week. Creating the space is key! Pick one dimension of life from the list mentioned above (parenting, loving, leading, working, strategizing, serving) and ask God the following questions:
What do you have to say regarding this particular role that I have?
What opportunities do you have for me to step into this week or this season in this role?
Then Ask: Lord, I need _______ (Discernment, Strength, Favor, Courage, Wisdom, etc) to fulfill this role and pursue this opportunity, will you give it to me? Once you've asked, obediently step into the assignment God has given you with courage and humility.