This weekend a Scripture was laid upon my heart. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7) I meditated on the verse, and wondered what the Lord was trying to show me. Anyone who knows me would never say that I am timid. But do I depend upon His power? I then read an article by Rick Ezell on Lifeway, and I am sharing excerpts from that article below.
For many of us our power has gone out. We don’t seem to have the energy to face the demands of life. We don’t seem to have the wisdom to handle the course of life. We don’t seem to have the will power to avoid the temptations of life. We don’t seem to have the hope to face the tragedies of life. We don’t seem to have the resolve to do the right things in life. What are we to do?
Part of the answer is illustrated in a story about a lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the century. She was quite wealthy but also quite frugal. The people were surprised, then, when she decided to be among the first to have electricity in her home.
Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He asked if her electricity was working well, and she assured him it was. “I’m wondering if you can explain something to me,” he said. “Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power?”
“Certainly,” she answered. “Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off.”
She’s tapped into the power but doesn’t use it. Her house is connected but not altered. Don’t we make the same mistake? We, too – with our souls saved but our lives unchanged – are connected but not altered. Trusting Christ for salvation but resisting transformation. We occasionally flip the switch, but most of the time we settle for shadows.
How do we tap into God’s awesome supply of power? Tapping into the power of God isn’t a matter of pushing the right buttons, chanting the right words, and then suddenly being transformed. The following steps will assist you in sharing in the incredible power of God.
A. Admit that you need God’s power: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9) God helps those who realize they need help. We are filled with God’s power by first emptying ourselves of the pretense that we can get by on our own. Until we admit the obvious – that we are ultimately powerless by ourselves – we will be like a car stuck in the mud – the wheels are spinning, a lot of noise can be heard, even the splattering of mud can be felt, but no progress is being made.
B. Affirm God’s presence: “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced,” (1 Chron. 16:11-12) Once we come face-to-face with the reality of our own weakness, then we need to remind ourselves that we follow an all powerful God who has an uncanny track record of infusing His followers with strength. If you want to share in God’s power spend time dwelling on how God empowered his people. God empowered Moses in leading the stubborn Jews out of Egypt; strengthened David in his battle with Goliath; undergirded Daniel as he stood for his convictions in the midst of hungry lions; emboldened Peter as he forged the early church; and supported Paul throughout his trials through fire. Recall time after time how God has proven Himself to be trustworthy.
C. Align with God’s will: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5) Sometimes we’re looking for God’s strength for all the wrong reasons. We want God’s power so we can accomplish our agenda. But, God gives His strength so we can accomplish His plan and purposes through our lives. You and I need to be intimately connected with God and His purpose. It’s when we’re working in concert and harmony with God that He’s willing to give us the power to accomplish great things. The verse concludes with this stark but appropriate reminder: “‘because you can do nothing without Me'” (John 15:5). When we’re independently pursuing our own agenda, we shouldn’t have the expectation that God will necessarily contribute to it. But when we are in line with His plans and purposes for our lives, God will infuse us with His power.
D. Ask God for his power: “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2) Too often we want God’s intervention in our lives, but we beat around the bush and never ask God for it. God lovingly and willfully wants to give us His strength, if we will but ask.
E. Act out of obedience to God: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6) When we walk down the road of obedience toward God even when we are not feeling empowered we are demonstrating faith. Faith is not just believing something. It is belief and behavior. It is believing something and taking action in accordance with what we believe. Faith has been defined as “belief gone courageous.”
Fear focuses our attention on ourselves and on things we do not need to consider. It fills our minds with hypothetical situations that all end in defeat and ruination. Eventually, it utterly consumes us. This is why we cannot shrink back in obeying God and using the gifts He has given us because He is ultimately in control of our futures, and we are never victims of our circumstances. We are overwhelmingly triumphant in Christ, and we must act like it.