Dr. Doug Posey
From shortly after birth, we humans are impressed with power. Even little babies realize very early on that they are not powerless. Turning on the tears or shrieking at just the right pitch, the most effective decibel level and duration, causes much larger folks to react, most often supplying exactly that which is desired by the little manipulator. Words are not even necessary for them to express their power. Thus, gaining and utilizing power to varying degrees becomes a discovered necessity, even an obsession, for people of all ages, sizes and walks of life.
Power is control. Just when you think you are in control, something more powerful comes along to prove you wrong. The January 17, 1994 Northridge earthquake is one example of the kind of thing that puts human power in perspective. Our house shook violently and there was nothing we could do until it stopped. Antique cabinets fell, kitchen cupboards emptied on the floor and our cinderblock backyard wall was flattened. Until that event, I was the most powerful thing our little toddlers had known, besides their mother, and themselves when they really wanted something from us. With every aftershock, we were reminded that ultimately, we’re not in control. Our power is puny.
Although there are some very powerful things in the world, Earthquakes, volcanoes and nuclear blasts don’t hold a candle to the power of the One Who created them all. Everything and everyone in the universe is controlled by someone or something else—they all have limited power—except God. He can’t be manipulated or controlled in any way by anyone or anything at any time. Yet, people still try.
What is it about “All-powerful” that people don’t understand? Some, who even understand the Latin term, omnipotent, believe God is the ultimate Power in the universe, until they really desire something. Then, they think God should be putty in their hands. Like the demanding infant, they think God operates on a quid pro quo basis—“If I do this, You, God, are bound to do that!” And if God doesn’t bow to their control, they give Him a “time-out” or walk away from Him altogether.
One cannot harness the power of God. Man has harnessed some immensely powerful things, but he will never regulate the Almighty. However, that does not mean that people cannot be conduits of God’s power. God’s awesome power can operate through us.
God’s power is demonstrated just as credibly through a person changing profoundly because of their submission to Christ as it is by a solar flare, or a tsunami. The awesome power of God can be seen in a life that embraces hope rather than despair. There is no energy so great as the one that replaces fear with a sense of victory and boldness. In fact, God’s power seen in changed lives is proof that no power trumps the power of God.
Is that power available to us? A great biblical example answers the question. No one could have felt more powerless than the disciples after Jesus had been arrested, tried, mistreated and crucified. But following His resurrection, He made them a promise: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you...” (Acts. 1:8). Later, it happens. Once that power is bestowed, they were new people, not cowering any longer, but boldly proclaiming Christ to a hostile world—now, willing to die if necessary!
Indeed, most of the Apostles died martyrs’ deaths. But, even with the Holy Spirit, the essential component was faith. Without faith, our power remains puny (e.g., Matt. 17:14-20). Faith is a non-negotiable in relation to God, especially when it comes to operating in His power. He says, “My righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (Heb. 10:38).
If by faith you know Christ and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, no earthquake can compare with that kind of power. No political position, financial status, intellectual prowess, or feat of human strength comes close to the power that turns fearful people into those whose Spirit-empowered actions changed the course of history.
Will you settle for the same kind of power that got you what you wanted as an infant, or the power that formed the universe? Where have you placed your faith?
“…so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” —1 CORINTHIANS 2:5 NASB