"The Power of God"
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I was a small kid growing up in the projects, a place where everybody had to be tough. This kid challenged me one day with what was called the dozens. He ripped into me with everything he had; but I was tough, I took it all. No matter how bad the things he said, the level of embarrassment, or degree of humiliation, I held up like a trooper. That was until he shifted his focus from me to that of my mother. Nobody talks about my mother; I came unglued and lost it. Hours later after one of the biggest fist brawls that I can remember; my mother, whose honor I had been defending, sat me down for a talk. Now I’m sure there was some discipline and a punishment, but what stands out in my mind is her simple words in that talk. The thing she wanted me to know was simply that it didn’t matter my reason for fighting. No matter what was said, however hurtful it didn’t matter. The reason it didn’t matter, the thing that made it all void was this. She said that the kid did not know her so nothing he said was of any worth.
Those of little or no faith do not know God. It probably explains why they are so bitter and angry. It certainly explains why we must love our enemy and not hate them. When we show them love, we show them God. The more they see Him, the easier it will be to get to know Him.
Romans 12:20 (NIV) On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
God has provided us with a very unique ability. When used correctly we have everything necessary to face any and every situation that presents itself. However the opposite holds true when we misuse it; disaster is always the result. Funny thing about this ability is that everyone across the board has access to it. It doesn’t matter your faith, belief, background, or the enormity of the situation you may be faced with; everybody has it at their disposal. It’s called choice and it is a most unique part of our packaging.
Being made in the image of God, places us all inside a set of dynamics that we simply can’t avoid. We reflect and display some of His unique quality even when we are not aware of it and rarely understand it. Stand in front of a mirror and you create a reflection. Every quality of the reflection exists because you, the original, have possession of it first. Fact is the reflection only has being because of you and it brings nothing of its own accord. In desiring a relationship apart from His own being, God chose to create man. It seems unlikely for anyone to desire something that is already in their possession. That makes a strong statement as to man’s design; especially when viewed in light of these passages.
Job 7:17 (NIV) "What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention,
Job 15:14 (NIV) "What is man, that he could be pure, or one born of woman, that he could be righteous?
Choice is a special thing, and must be looked after with extra attention; especially since our ability to choose has been compromised. We now have the problem of having to make choices between good and evil; without full understanding of which is which. Again I say that the ability of choice must be used correctly in order to function to our benefit. We are not righteous, but we could be with help.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NIV) This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
Satan has caused our innate ability of desire to work against us. Our fallen nature will allow our own desires to be evil, choosing sin over the will of God.
Genesis 6:5 (NIV) The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.
Our heavenly Father knows full well that we are weak and that without His grace we will be ill prepared to overcome Satan’s temptations. That’s why He has given us an out based on our packaging which He worked into our design and His overall plan. In order for a relationship to work it has to be wanted with a strong desire. A desire which can only exists because of choice. Only when it can be rejected will it be capable of existing genuinely.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV) if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
The choices we make determine the power that comes to bare in our struggle with good and evil. Because of the grace of God we are given this ability to choose. We must choose Him out of love as He chose us in love.
Deuteronomy 7:6-9 (NIV) For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your forefathers that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.
Jesus came into this world as our teacher of what it looks like to choose the good and perfect will of God the Father. His life and death on the cross is the fulfillment of God’s promise of forgiveness. He is the light of the world and the example for all mankind.
John 16:33 (NIV) "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
1 John 5:3-5 (NIV) This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Everyone born in this world will have trouble; Satan is roaming, looking for those that he can devour with temptation. Christ reminds us that although we are in the world, we don’t have to be of it. Through Him and the power of His Spirit we can overcome the temptations of evil.
Romans 12:9 (NIV) Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Romans 12:21 (NIV) Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Don’t overlook the power of your choice or take for granted its significance. I chose to play the game of dozens, and accept the temptation of anger. In the heat of the moment I made some bad choices that were more evil than good. Until my mother sat me down for a talk I still held the thought that I was on the side of right... defending her honor. If I had been more involved with the Word of God; following the example of Christ, I might have been better informed; able to make a better choice. We may not always be able to determine the difference between good and evil, but we can always determine to follow Jesus and make the will of God… our own.