I’ve heard a great deal about the power of God over the course of my life. I’ve journeyed through the Pentecostalism… out to the fringes of the Charismatic… through the more traditional… congregational… denominational… etc… etc…
It seems everyone is hungry for the power of God.
Why do we long for the power? I wonder if our desire for the spectacular is rooted in spiritual laziness? (Oh, not you of course… I mean those other Christians!).
Of course, I could be wrong.
Let’s see… what did Jesus tell us to do?
“Go make disciples… baptize… teach…” (Matthew 28:18-20) When He mentions power here, it’s to say, “I’ve got all authority and I’ll be with you as you go…”
Later when Jesus talked about power He said, “You’ll get empowered when the Holy Spirit is on, in and through you… and you will take that power and be my witness.” In other words, the purpose of the power is not to make a splash, not to get people’s attention, not to prove that we were right all along… the purpose of the power is effective witness.
…because effective witness in Jesus name is hard… If it wasn’t we wouldn’t need the Spirit! If we didn’t need the Spirit for it we would do it ourselves …and take the credit.
We want power displays so that the work of obedience will be easier… the purpose of the empowerment is to provide the strength for work that is hard.
I can hear the critics: Oh, you’re one of those, eh? One of those who doesn’t believe in the power of the Spirit… in the miraculous…
…that’s not what I said – go ahead, read it again.
What if God is withholding mighty displays of power because mighty displays of His power don’t make it easier for His children, but harder! So hard, that you need the dunamis (the word used in Acts 1:8) of the Spirit in order to do it. What if He’s withholding mighty displays of power because we lack the power of the Spirit to endure what follows?
What if it’s an act of grace on His part?