I was recently talking with a lady in our church. Because of circumstances in her life, she has been pondering God’s power. As we know from the New Testament, when a person is “born of the Spirit,” the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within that person permanently. And since the Holy Spirit is fully God, as the third Person of the Trinity, the power He brings is a lot of power, to say the least.
This lady in her 80s has been a believer a long time, and she continues to consider what this power looks like in action even as her “outer person is decaying.”
Often, our minds race to things like “power evangelism” or “signs and wonders” kind of power. Certainly the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles give ample illustrations of both, but to think that God’s power in us must necessarily manifest itself in such signs is dangerous and misguided.
God’s power in us is when we walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. It’s when we say no to sin and obey God instead. It’s when we deny our lusts, greed, hate or anger and put on holiness and righteousness, love and humility. It’s evident when we bear the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit, none of which come natural to the fallen flesh.
When a believer faces death without fear, bitterness or selling everything they own to get some experimental drug or surgery in another country because they simply can’t face the end of life, that’s the power of the Spirit.
Power is when a godly dad stays up two nights in a row taking care of kids vomiting all over the place. Power is when someone drops everything they are doing and helps out a friend to paint their new home. It’s more often subtle, quiet, humble, not flashy or showy. Like Jesus.
There can even be a power display when seemingly nothing is being accomplished. At times in our Christian life, we are simply persevering in the faith.
We are like a person crossing a waist deep river with a strong current.
You could be standing in the middle of that river going nowhere but still it’s a display of power, because you haven’t given in to the flow, to be washed down stream, to take the path of least resistance.
That may be you right now. Your sails aren’t full of wind, making great and obvious progress. You are just standing your ground in the moment, resisting the sinful flow of this world and sinful urges of your flesh, exerting great spiritual energy to just persevere.
It doesn’t look powerful to the casual observer, but when you consider the force of the stream and the consequences of giving up, it’s anything but weakness.
How have you seen God’s power in action? Maybe sobriety for decades? Forgiveness of a great hurt inflicted by someone close? Self-control to eat right?
All of these can be evidence of God’s strength on the move.