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Plugging In the Power of God - Part 1
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But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:8).
My little granddaughter was helping me vacuum the carpet the other day. I began to push the vacuum across the floor as I allowed her to rest her hand on the handle. She loves to turn switches on and off. Discovering the switch on the side of the vacuum, she quickly hit the switch. She seemed shocked when the vacuum no longer performed its task. I was not surprised. I know that when the power source is disconnected, the vacuum will no longer do its job.
I also recently saw a commercial for the old television show, Candid Camera. A woman coasts her car down the street and the car automatically stops as she tries to drift up the entrance to a car repair shop. A mechanic comes out and opens the hood only to find there is no engine. Of course, this was a gag, and we laugh at the attendant’s reaction because we realize there is no power source.
The Christian life is no different. We need the power of God to do God’s work, but so often we coast down the road with no engine. We have killed the power switch, and wonder why things are not working as we know they should.
In the Old Testament, there are several Hebrew words translated into English as the word power. Jacob makes the statement in Genesis 31:6, “And ye know that with all my power I have served your father.” Here, the word means ability.
We see another use of the word power in Genesis 31:29. – “It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt . . . .” Power, in this instance, carries with it the idea of might.
In Genesis 32:28, the Hebrew word śârâh has to do with prevailing, with overcoming. We read, “. . . Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
Kôach, In Exodus 9:16, “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power . . .” can be translated as vigor.
The word power in Exodus 21:8 refers to having dominion and rule.
What does it mean to possess power?
In the New Testament we find these meanings. The Greek word exousia means privilege, capacity, competency, or mastery. Jesus uses the word in Matthew 9:6, “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”
We see Jesus speaking again in Matthew 24:30 as He says, “. . . and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Here the word takes on the meaning of abundance in strength and might.
Luke 20:20 states, “. . . that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.” Power is indicative of a magistrate, chief, or principality.
We could go on. These are not all the examples in Scripture. My point is that there are many different facets to this singular English word. When we discuss our need for power, we need to consider the big picture.
We must have the switch in the on position, if we are to be connected to the power source. We must have a working engine if we are to run on all cylinders for the Lord.
God has made His power available to us for two basic reasons: one, for witnessing and service; and two, for holy living. The next few sentences may sound contradictory, but stay with me. I think you will understand what I am saying after a bit. Just as you need God to supply the fruit of the Spirit, you also need Him to supply power in your life. He is the source of power, just as He is the source of love, joy, and peace. You cannot possess meekness, temperance, and longsuffering without Him. You cannot possess the power of God without Him.
That being said, you have a part to play in order to obtain God’s power. The power of God is just that – power. Power can destroy as well as heal. God just does not flippantly put His power out there for anyone on any whim to claim. Special training is involved to harness the power of electricity. Not just anyone can climb a telephone pole and fix the electrical problem. Horses possess great physical power, but let a novice try to control the herd, and there is bound to be trouble. Likewise, we must know how to handle God’s power, or we may do more harm than good.
The forces of evil fight as fiercely as do the forces for good. If we are not properly prepared for battle, we will most surely be overcome. Please know that for every step forward that is taken for Christ, satan is always a half-step behind. We must be prepared for battle, and we must have the power of God upon us as we go.
Consider this. It was the power of the Highest that overshadowed Mary, and conceived the baby Jesus (Luke 1:35). We know that the miracles of Stephen were a result of his faith and power (Acts 6:8). Paul attributes his power in preaching to the Spirit of God (Romans 15:19). Furthermore, it was by the power of God that Christ was raised from the dead (Acts 4:10). Now, all power belongs to the Son (Matthew 28:18).
Romans 8:9 gives us this thought – “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The (Holy) Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ dwell in you. God has not shortchanged you in any way. You have all you need to do God’s work on earth. You have been given all power through Christ, but with the gift comes tremendous responsibility. We must learn to wield the Sword of the Spirit which is the power of God. It takes time. It takes work. It takes commitment.
Think again on II Chronicles 7:14 – “If my people, which are called by my name, shall 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.”
We know that “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). We must remain humble if we are to handle the power of the living God. We must have a strong prayer life as mentioned in verse 14. We are also told in I Thessalonians 5:17 to, “Pray without ceasing.” We are told that, “. . . if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29), we shall find Him. Furthermore, we know that, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:9).
You see, II Chronicles 7:14 is much more than a verse to teach us about revival. II Chronicles 7:14 paves the way for the power of God in our lives, but we must appropriate it. We must apply the teaching of the verse to our lives in a very practical way. We must be sure to be in a right relationship with God before we can expect to be endued with His power.
Prior to the Lord’s ascension He told His disciples, “. . . wait for the promise of the Father, which . . . ye have heard of me” (Acts 1:4). What was the promise, and when did they hear it? Luke 24:49 gives us the answer. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” The promise of the Father was to be endued with power. The disciples cloistered themselves in the upper room for ten days until the power came.
Being endued carries the idea of being covered, as in putting on a garment. The promise of the Father was to clothe his people with His Holy Spirit, but this was not immediate. They were to wait – wait until they were prepared. They spent the time in prayer and in the Scriptures no doubt humbling themselves, seeking the face of God, confessing and forsaking their sin. We must do the same if we are to experience the power of God working in our lives.
Part will be on the way shortly.