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The Power of God

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.


I have been speaking on various virtues. The virtue I want to focus on this week is power. I find it interesting that in Biblical times the word ‘virtue’ meant some extraordinary power. Originally the Greek meaning of the word referred to the power of anything to accomplish its specific purpose or function. So, the word virtue meant the power or energy capable of producing certain effects, like strength, force, or potency. Back then, as it is today, power was the energy to get things done.


Of course, the term power is used in many ways today, but I want to focus on the power of God. Power comes from the Spirit.  Luke 1:35 reads, “And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you.”


I am using the word ‘power’ as God’s power, the power that Spirit imparted upon us for God’s works and God’s will. This power dwells within each of us and is the very energy of life, the supernatural energy of God’s being. This power fills every person, everything on this planet and in the Universe. This is the power that enables all the qualities measurable by science: gravity, electromagnetic force, and so on.


But God does not call us to speculate on or theorize about this power. It is not just an idea to be pondered. God wants us to embrace it, apply it, and partner with Him in its purposes and benefits for His children. God desires that we reach out and ask that He intensify, expand, and deepen the awareness and movement of this power through us.


The power that indwells us is the same power used by God to raise Jesus from the dead. In Ephesians 1:18-21 Paul prays this: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know … his immeasurably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms ….”


This is a description of God’s immeasurable great power that indwells us. Paul again prays in Ephesians 3:16, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”  God’s power to get things done is within us and available to us.


Last week I spoke on faith, and how we have all been given a measure of faith. In 2 Peter 1:5 Peter tells us to add to our faith virtue, which is the power of God, the energy to get things done. Then add knowledge to our power, add self-control to our knowledge, add patience to our self-control, add self-control to our patience, add moral uprightness to our patience, add mutual affection to our moral uprightness, and finally, add love to our mutual affection.


This long list of add-ons to our faith begins with power and ends with love.  But if we can add these virtues on to our existing faith, as 2 Peter 1:8 tells us, “…they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


One of the benefits of God’s power is that it overcomes laziness. If there is anything that we need today as Christians, it is energy! Power doesn’t sit still; it is not inert. By the very nature of power, it wants to get something done; power gets us up and moving. We can’t be standing by ourselves in a corner and patting ourselves on the back saying, “I’m so glad Jesus set me free.” Jesus came to set us free for a reason, and when we can add power to our faith, we can help others get free as well.


In Colossians 1:29 Paul tells us how he kept going: “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.” God fills each of us with His supernatural energy. I say supernatural because it is beyond measurable scientific means. Our energy can be measured by calories burned and all that, but the source and nature of God’s power within us it beyond their scope. The energy that God powerfully works within us is unlimited and endlessly abundant.


“But, Patrick, I get so tired.”  Well, at least, I sometimes say that. Could it be that I am toiling and struggling using only worldly energy and knowledge and personal skills?  What would our lives look like if we consciously embraced this divine energy and utilized God’s supernatural power?


Experiencing the power of God and the Holy Spirit is not intended to be an exceptional or sporadic occurrence. It is intended by God to be the routine, ordinary, daily reality in the life of everyone, regardless of our education, social standing, or financial status. This power isn’t merely available to us this week or next year. God wants us to live in it and draw from it every moment of every day.


He tells us to “Be still and know that I am God.” Stop, be still, listen, and feel this power within. This “power” is something that God not only has, and is, but something generously and abundantly given to us. In Acts 1:8 Christ says, “…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.”


This power that Jesus promises is the same power of the Holy Spirit on which he himself consciously depended and employed to heal the sick. Luke 5:17 relates this: “On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal.”      


On several occasions we read in the gospels that “power” goes out of Jesus. It is transferable. His power is imparted to others merely by touch. Mark 5:30 offers this: “And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched my garments?’”


Jesus felt the power of the Holy Spirit flow from him and into the body of a woman. This is described in our song, Surely the Presence of the Lord, by the phrase, “I’ve touched the hem of his garment.” Indeed, we read in Luke 6:19 that “all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.”


But a consistent quality of God’s power is that it is most clearly displayed in times of weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 teaches: 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. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Far from proving to be a hindrance, Paul’s weakness was the platform on which God’s supernatural and divine power, was gloriously displayed.


Yet the ego rebels against any sign of weakness, and this is why it is sometimes difficult to display God’s power. The ego derives its power from the world: aggressive, controlling, and dominating. Yet God’s power is from Spirit. It is the strength that is born of giving selflessly and trusting lovingly. It wants the greatest good for all. That is not the ego’s intent. Spiritual power permeates every aspect of life as the force that connects, organizes, and nurtures all matter, from the subatomic particles to the mammoth stars above. This power is within us and available to us.


In our final prayer we speak, “The Power of God protects us.” This is the truth. The Power of God is not limited to where we are. It is sufficient for a prosperous future, satisfying relationships, and in providing the strength to meet any challenge. God’s power sees through any darkness and reaches beyond any limitation. As evangelist Smith Wigglesworth said, “The power of God will take you out of your own plans and put you into the plan of God.”


It is my prayer that we understand that God is power, and this power comes to us through Spirit; we can be still and touch that immeasurable power of God within us. Spiritual power is available to us today, right now, to help us do anything we need to do with joy in our hearts.  The more we think of the power of God within and of our ability to use it, the more our consciousness of spiritual power will grow.


So, know that whatever challenge you face you can overcome it. Whatever darkness, fear, or doubt that dwells in your mind or heart, you can dispel it. Whatever goals and dreams that have been placed on your heart, you can attain them, all this through the power of God. Thank you, God.


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