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Do our lives reflect God’s power?

Renew/ God's truths
The Bible talks a lot about God’s power. It also talks about the power He gives to those that believe in and obey Him. God’s power gives us the ability to rise above our circumstances, overcome sin, heal the sick, and destroy the works of Satan. In his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes God’s power for all believers as being incredible and great.

 

1 Chronicles 29:11 ESV  Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.

Ephesians 1:19 NLT  I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him…

Here is what the Bible highlights as some aspects of God’s power for believers.

  • Power to live godly lives | 2 Peter 1:3 ESV His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness…
  • Power to abound in joy, peace and hope | Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
  • Power to endure | Colossians 1:11 ESV May you be strengthened with all power … for all endurance and patience with joy,
  • Power to heal the sick | Luke 5:17 ESV … And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.
  • Power to witness for Jesus | Acts 1:8 ESV But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses … to the end of the earth.”
  • Power to command evil spirits to leave | Luke 4:36 ESV … For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!”
  • Power to destroy spiritual strongholds | 2 Corinthians 10:4 ESV For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

All this would be impossible on our own strength. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us His power and strength once we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Saviour.

Acts 1:8 ESV  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…

2 Timothy 1:7 ESV  for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Stumbling blocks to living with God’s power

1. Unbelief

The Bible shows that Jesus did not do many miracles in Nazareth as a result of the unbelief He encountered there. Unbelief may appear to be merely an intellectual obstacle. In reality, it is an issue of the heart. God’s Word calls all followers of Christ to beware of our “evil, unbelieving hearts” because this will only lead us away from Him.

Matthew 13:58 ESV  And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

Hebrews 3:12 ESV  Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.

Unbelief can hinder the Holy Spirit from working powerfully through us because it closes our hearts off to Him. There are many things that can subtly lead to unbelief in our hearts.

Perhaps we have been disappointed by people before and hence, believe that God might also disappoint us by blessing others with His power – but not us. Alternatively, we may have concluded that God doesn’t work powerful miracles anymore because someone told us so or because we haven’t personally witnessed many testimonies. There only seems to be a lot of talk about God being powerful but not a lot of proof. Or we don’t fully believe in the Holy Spirit because we can’t see or feel Him.

1 Corinthians 4:20 ESV  For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.

Hebrews 11:1 ESV  Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Perhaps we have become disillusioned by all the brokenness we see. We think, “If God is all-powerful, why doesn’t He fix the problems of this world?” and forget that He has given mankind the rights to govern over this earth. He will not overturn this authorisation He has given us. Instead, we are to bring His amazing gospel of salvation, hope and peace to the world with His assigned power and authority.

Genesis 2:15 NIV  The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Romans 1:16 ESV  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…

God’s Word reminds us that all things are possible for those who believe.

Mark 9:23 ESV  And Jesus said to him, “‘…All things are possible for one who believes.”

Also, see Why we don’t truly believe.

2. Elevating human wisdom

Many of us have grown up listening to worldly philosophies that teach us that we have the power and intelligence to control our own destinies. When we place our faith in ourselves and (limited) wisdom, rather than God, it is not likely we will get to witness God’s power through us. The apostle Paul declared that he did not rely his own wisdom. Otherwise, the cross of Christ would have been “emptied of its power”. 

1 Corinthians 1:17 ESV  For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

God’s Word reminds us not to look at human wisdom and rationale, but at the power of God.

1 Corinthians 2:5 ESV  That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Also, see Godly vs. worldly wisdom. 

3. An unhealthy focus on our own limitations

This world teaches us to compensate for our weaknesses. We can also bring this attitude to our relationship with God. We think we must be perfected before His power can flow through us, when in fact, the less capable we inherently are, the more God’s power is glorified through us. Even the apostle Paul confessed to feeling weak, timid and trembling.

2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV  But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

1 Corinthians 2:3-5 ESV And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

God’s Word reminds us that God’s power is made perfect through our weaknesses, not our strengths.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV  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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

4. Unconfessed sins

The topic of sin is not a popular one, yet it is an important one because God desires to lovingly purify our souls. He does so when we acknowledge and confess our sins to Him.

The Bible warns that when we do not admit that we still harbour some sins, we call God a liar and His Word has no place in our hearts. Importantly, the Bible also points out that God detests the prayers of someone who ignores His Word and His warnings. Unconfessed sin cuts us off from God. It is not likely that God’s power will flow through us as a result.

1 John 1:8-10 ESV If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Proverbs 28:9 NLT  God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law.

Isaiah 59:1-3 NLT  Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. It’s your sins that have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, he has turned away and will not listen anymore. Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your lips are full of lies, and your mouth spews corruption.

God’s Word reminds us to first seek God’s righteousness through confession and repentance so that our prayers will have great power.

James 5:16 NLT  Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Also, see Confessing to receive freedom.

5. A focus on ourselves, rather than on God’s Kingdom

God’s power is most evident through His powerful spiritual gifts. Some examples include the gifts of knowledge, miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, and healing. God’s Word encourages us to desire these gifts but at the same time, it also counsels us to do so with the right motives. Spirituals gifts are meant to build up God’s Kingdom, rather than our own self-interests. Even if we believe we are asking God for His power with pure intentions, it is still important to submit our hearts to Him to show us the condition of our hearts.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11 ESV  To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills…

1 Corinthians 14:1 ESV  Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts…

James 4:3 NLT  And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong–you want only what will give you pleasure.

Proverbs 16:2-3 NIV  All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the LORD. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

God’s Word reminds us to desire God’s powerful gifts in order to build His church around the world.

1 Corinthians 14:12 ESV  So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.

Also, see Sharpening our spiritual gifts. 

6. Lack of Bible knowledge

Our all-powerful God promises to accomplish whatever His Word says. It is hard for us to know how to exercise God’s power when we don’t fully know what it is based on. 

1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 

Isaiah 55:11 ESV  so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

God’s Word reminds us to know God’s Word as much as God’s power.

Matthew 22:29 NLT  Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.

Renewing our hearts with the help of the Holy Spirit

There is a danger that anything we hold on to more closely to our hearts, rather than God’s Word, can become an idol. This includes our unbelief, our faith in human wisdom, our devotion to our weaknesses, our unconfessed sin, and our own self-interests. Let us confess and turn away from all these blockages to God’s power in our lives. As followers of Jesus, we are meant to humbly experience the fullness of life and power that comes from God who loves us immensely.

Ezekiel 36:25-26 ESV  I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

Ephesians 3:19 NLT  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

 

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