The High Cost of Low Power

Kingdom power1Co 4:20 CEV God’s kingdom isn’t just a lot of words. It is power.

1Th 1:5  for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction;

A lack of moving in God’s supernatural power is a deviation from the Biblical norm.  When Christian’s face limitations in their experience of moving in God’s power they can respond in one of two ways.  They can seek God and fresh encounters with His Spirit until the power that was promised becomes manifested through them, or they can create  ways of thinking that work to comfort them in their powerlessness.   Unfortunately Christian’s past experiences and/or disappointments hold far more sway over their theology than most would like to admit.

It was in my heart

“Did you hear about that guy in ______?  God is really showing up with him!  People are getting healed and delivered.  We need to check it out!”   Over the past 35 years I have come across many similar reports of men and women of God moving in supernatural power.   A while back I heard someone give me a report of a similar minister and God convicted me of my initial heart response.  To say the least it wasn’t very Godly or Biblical.

If I could put words to the response in my heart it went something like this, “I have seen so many ‘miracle workers’ over the years claiming great power of God but most of them proved to be either frauds and had major character problems.  This one is probably the same way.  His marriage, if he has one, is probably bad.  He is probably some money or power hungry opportunist.”

My response was instant unbelief.  In my defense we are commanded to not be gullible regarding those who move in signs and wonders.   The Bible says to evaluate people who move in them by their fruits.

Mat 7:15-16  “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.   “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?

Mat 24:24 NASB  “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

In spite of these things there are a couple of major problems with my attitude.  First, cynicism can be a form of unbelief.  Second, is a subtle perspective that sees “character” as more important than God’s power.  If we believe that moving in character is essential while moving in God’s power is optional (not that important) we are heading for problems.

Is Character More Important than Power

A theology that believes the main/only way God is revealed in the earth is through good character is deficient.  First of all, do we think we can develop character apart from God’s supernatural power moving in our lives?   Jesus said that God’s supernatural power exists to help us become better witnesses in the world. Act 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…

What about all that Jesus said about moving in God’s power?   Mat 10:8 NASB  “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.  Character doesn’t drive out demons or heal the sick!

What about counterfeits who moved in signs and wonders? A counterfeit dollar bill doesn’t nullify the value of the real thing. The abuse of one person never justifies the neglect of another – there are abusive parents but that should not stop us from pursuing good parenting, why, because parenting is the call of God.

Jesus said supernatural signs and wonders should accompany those who believe.  Mark 16:17-18  (17) “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; (18) they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

Offended by Lack of Character but What About Lack of Power

While we are embarrassed by the abuses of people who move in signs and wonders we are seldom offended over the absence of them.   We are seldom concerned by our lack of moving in the power of God even though we are commanded to “earnestly desire” to move in Spiritual gifts.  1Co 14:1  Pursue love, yet desire earnestly (to strive after, to exert oneself towards) spiritual giftsThis idea carries with it more than just being “open” to move in the Spirit, every Christian is to be intensely serious (earnestly) about moving in it.

Not long ago I watched a video that went into detail about some of the problems with how Walmart has affected local economies.  What caught my attention was the title “The high cost of low price.”  They were making the point that Walmart coming in to communities offering low prices has a negative effect on those same communities.

There is a parallel spiritual problem when communities of God’s people accept a  powerless Christianity.  I call it the high cost of low power.  It can lead God’s community to live more like Diest (belief that God has withdrawn involvement with everyday life) than Biblical Christians.

We must not forget that Spiritual power reveals an important aspect of God’s nature.  He isn’t just a God of character, but also a God of power.  Hebrews 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.

The lack of moving in God’s power works like a thief, stealing precious revelation of Him.   Paul saw a cornerstone of his work in revealing Christ contained signs, wonders, and power.  Revealing the nature of God must never be compromised through accepting powerless Christianity.

Rom 15:18-19  For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed,  (19)  in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

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