The Bible presents a picture of the Christian life that is full of His supernatural power. Any lack of His power at work is a deviation from the Biblical norm. What do we do when we go through seasons where there doesn’t seem to be much of His power at work?
When Christians face limitations in their experience of moving in God’s supernatural power, they can respond in one of two ways. They can seek God for fresh encounters with His Spirit until the power that He promises becomes a reality, or they can create ways of thinking that work to comfort them in their powerlessness. They can almost develop a theology that minimizes the importance of God’s power.
Never limit God’s word to fit your experience, but always seek to have your experience measure up to God’s word.
Unfortunately, many Christian’s past experiences and/or disappointments hold far more sway over their theology than they would like to admit. We must remember an important truth regarding the word of God; never limit God’s word to fit your experience, but always seek to have your experience measure up to God’s word.
Cynicism is unbelief
“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 38 years, I have come across many similar reports of men and women moving in supernatural power. A while back someone gave me a report of a similar minister, and God convicted me of my initial heart response. It was full of cynicism and unbelief.
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 frauds and had major character problems. This one is probably the same. His marriage, if he has one, is probably bad. He has probably made a lot of money promising God’s people things if they would give to him. He is probably some Charismaniac flake.”
My response was instant unbelief and cynicism. In my defense, we are commanded to not be gullible regarding those who move in signs and wonders. The Bible says there will be false prophets. It says to evaluate people, even those moving in power, 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.
- 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 is 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.
Offended by a lack of character, but what about a lack of power?
A theology that believes the main, or 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 Holy Spirit’s power moving in our lives? Jesus said that God’s supernatural power exists to help us become better witnesses in the world.
Jesus clearly indicated that we are to expect and move in God’s supernatural power.
- Mat 10:8 “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!
- Mk 16:17-18 “These signs will follow those who believe…”
- Act 1:8 “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses…”
What about counterfeits? A counterfeit doesn’t nullify the value of the real thing. The abuse of one person never justifies the neglect of another. While there are abusive parents, that should not stop us from pursuing good parenting. Why? Because parenting is the call of God.
While we are embarrassed by abuses and lack of character in some people who move in signs and wonders, we are seldom offended over the absence of Gods power in signs and wonders. We are seldom concerned by our own 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 gifts…” This idea carries with it more than just being “open” to moving in the Spirit. Every Christian is to be intensely serious (earnest) about moving in Him.
The High Cost of Low Power
Not long ago I watched a video that went into detail about how Walmart has affected the economy in local communities. What caught my attention was the title “The high cost of low price.” They were making the point that Walmart’s coming into communities and offering lower prices has an overall effect on those same communities. They had a former executive who had been involved in several of these moves into smaller towns. They drove through the shopping district of a small town. As they did the former executive started pointing out the business’ that would be shut down as a result of WalMart opening. Their lower prices had an effect of shutting down certain local businesses and hurting others.
As I watched this I saw a spiritual parallel about how the lack of moving in God’s power affects the community of God’s people. The phrase that ran through my mind was “the high cost of low power.” Without the Spirit’s power, Churches will subtly become dependent on human reason rather than God’s revelation and power. Breakthroughs and advancements in certain areas will be held back because of a lack of power. Certain people may not be delivered from physical or demonic oppression because of a lack of power. Certain initiatives and testimonies may never come about because of a lack of God’s power. There really is a high cost of low power.
We should never be content with a powerless gospel and a powerless Christianity!
Accepting a lack of moving in God’s power works like a thief, stealing precious revelation of Him and His glory. Paul saw God’s power as an important element of revealing Jesus. He is a God of holy character but also Holy 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.”
- Rom 15:19 “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.”
What can we do?
- Always seek God for fresh fillings of Holy Spirit.
Acts 13:52 “And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
Ephesians 5:18 “Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be continually filled with the Spirit. 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.”
- Pray to be used in God’s supernatural power to accompany the Gospel.
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 “To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, (12) so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”\
- Do everything you can to stir up the supernatural gifts of God in you
2 Timothy 1:6 “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” The Greek word used entailed the picture of a fire which had once burned brightly but had died down from lack of attention or fresh fuel. The intensity and usefulness of the fire had been lost. The encouragement was to rekindle it, fan it into flames, or stir it up to get the flames going again.
- Always believe and move in faith. Jesus never rebuked His disciples for having too much faith, but always challenged them for the lack of it. Steps of faith in praying for people and looking to release God’s power please God more than holding back in unbelief.
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