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ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKS IN US
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The Bible says a lot about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We have captured many of these truths in the lyrics of the songs we sing. We parrot our confessions and our clichés about our authority over demons and all manner of sicknesses and diseases. It is past time for us to begin experiencing God in the ways that we sing and talk about Him.
God still works miracles and, hence, we should be accomplishing great things through Christ. The sick should come to church requesting prayer, and believing that it is more than simply a religious ritual, but that God’s healing power still works. When we pray to God daily, we should expect it to make a difference in our day.
Some might argue that God the miracle worker applies only to the days of Jesus and His disciples, but consider Mark 16:17-18. Jesus told His disciples “these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues….” In this text, Jesus is not talking about the eleven disciples but to those who believe on Him through their preaching.
In this article I am not advocating fanaticism about the miraculous, but I do aim to encourage you to pursue a greater measure of God’s power working in your life. As a start, let’s look at two fundamental facts that the Apostle Paul shares in his letter to the Ephesians.
First, he reveals that God is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20a). The phrase “exceeding abundantly above” comes from a word that means “without limit”. In other words, if we were to think of or ask as lofty a thing as we could imagine, what God can do above that is off the scale! There is no way in the English language to mentally grasp what Paul is saying here. That’s the awesome God we are talking about.
Oftentimes, we are guilty of regarding God as if He were a man. Greatly tested, for instance, because we can’t see a way out we tend to feel there is none. Such hopelessness can send you into depression if you let it. But God’s ability to deliver us is not subject to our ability to understand how He can. Our thinking is limited but God’s power is limitless.
Next, Paul talks about “the power that worketh in us” (v. 20b). When we become born again, not only does God radically change our lives, but also He puts within us an awesome power that’s actively at work within us. All bona fide Christians have this power working in them. It enables them to live victoriously in this world of darkness. For “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
The magnitude of the power working in us differs from person to person. To some extent that is because of God’s purpose for us, and how He has equipped us for that purpose. That part we cannot change. But in terms of what He has given us to work with, we are in the driver’s seat as to how much of it works in our lives. And as we shall see, it behooves us to maximize this power-experience.
Since what God can do above what we ask or think is off the scale, then whatever our problem is, it’s but a light thing for Him. But that being a fact is not enough. We must learn how to appropriate this fact to become our reality. For instance, it’s a fact that we have enough food in America to feed all of its citizens but we still have many Americans who lack ample food. Our adequacy of food is not relevant to those who don’t experience its benefits. It must become their reality.
Similarly, no matter how capable God is in solving our problems, no matter how astounding the lyrics are in the songs we sing about His greatness, and no matter how many confessions we parrot about the same, the only thing that is relevant is whether we are experiencing this awesome God in our lives.
If we could realize Paul’s aforementioned words in the life of every Christian, this would revolutionize the local church. The demons in hell would tremble. The miracle working power of God would be commonplace among us. The weak link in the chain of Paul’s words, however, lies in this statement: “according to the power that works in us”.
Let me explain this through an analogy. The human brain is amazing. None of us will ever come close to exhausting its capacity. When we die we will have only scratched the surface of what we can learn and, hence, achieve in life. How much of our learning capacity we use has to do with us. We must discipline ourselves to learn, we must challenge ourselves, we must have a passion for learning, etc.
During my first year in college I made low grades. They were enough to pass my classes, but I could have done much better. My capacity to learn was much greater than my grades indicated. For one thing, I treated college as I did high school, in terms of how much time I put into studying. When I got the revelation that college and high school were very different in terms of what it took to succeed, I applied myself and graduated with honors. I was no smarter in the end than I was in the beginning. Rather, my learning at first had been restricted by my attitude toward the process. Same brain, different mindset.
Similarly, God’s ability is boundless. But we will only experience His glory in our life to the degree that we allow His power to be active in us. In other words, a person who is not passionate toward God, and who does not yield himself to God’s will for his life will not experience God to the degree that someone will who does so yield himself to God. Same God, different experiences.
What I am saying is that our passion for God determines how much of His power works in our lives, and that in turn determines how much He will do on our behalf.
So let’s ask ourselves an important question. What hampers “the power that worketh in us”? We can get the gist of that answer from the parable of the seed and the sower. When Jesus explained the meaning of the seeds that fell among thorns, He said, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22). So the short answer to the question is that the more we abandon the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches, the more fruitful the word will become in us, and in turn the more will be “the power that worketh in us.” And remember that God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think--according to the power that worketh in us.
Christ lives in each of us once we have become born again. But we cannot effectively live for ourselves and live for Him at the same time. The more we die to ourselves the more we can live for Christ. He does not force Himself on us. He will take control of only the portion of our lives we willingly give Him. The will of God, of course, is for us to totally die to ourselves so Christ can live more completely through us. It is then that God will do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
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12 Apr 2008
I was driving in my car this evening and the Holy Spirit spoke to me "according to the power that worketh in me" I pondered on it and thought what does that really mean, what are you saying to me Lord? I even thought maybe He was giving me my next title to my next article, BUT I see that the Lord is revealing a deep truth and giving me a key to unlock a door that has been shut. I praise God for leading me to your article. It is the Lord!
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