The Christian faith without power is no faith at all. The power that only God can provide is what keeps Christianity free from being an empty religious ritual and meaningless philosophy. I am not attacking other religions or belief systems, what I am attacking is what the American Christian life looks like when there is no power in it.
As a living representation of Christ’s Body on earth, it is a necessity for power to flow from our lives.
Now for whoever reads this, this truth will either frighten you, offend you, or excite you.
And, it is important to note that those are the exact responses that Jesus received during his earthly ministry. Because of his boldness and his effective power, the public was either afraid of him, offended by him, or excited because of him.
The political powers were afraid of him. Jesus, the prophesied King of the Jews, certainly held the power to sack the Roman government to establish the Kingdom of God in Jerusalem forever. This idea was so understood that King Herod ordered for the mass genocide of Hebrew babies in Bethlehem to avoid the coming Messiah (Matthew 2:16-18). Political forces continued to conspire out of fear, until their threat was officially crucified.
The religious powers were offended by him. Jesus, their prophesied Son of God, not only challenged each of them, but he lived out the righteousness that they had failed to perfect. His God-shaped confidence and willingness to humbly love sinners and do life with them, offended the religious elite greatly. The power that was released through Christ offended them so much that they even accused him of being demon possessed (Matthew 12:23-25).
The “poor in spirit” and those who “hungered and thirsted for righteousness” (Matt 5:3&6) were excited because of him. Jesus, their prophesied Savior, not only loved each person he interacted with, but he called them into their rightful identity in God. He spoke loving words to people who had been abused by the political and religious spirit and His power changed their lives. As Christ healed people, and released them from torment, the public could only respond with excitement as his power proved him to be the real deal. It was his power that caused crowds to rush after him. In fact, Jesus wasn’t unaware of the necessity of his powerful acts. In John 14:11 he even states as his own apologist, “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.”
If Jesus saw the importance of powerful works, then shouldn’t we? If Jesus’ evangelistic method for advancing the kingdom was through power, then why should we look to any other model to follow? We shouldn’t.
So often we may think, “well that was JESUS, I can’t be expected to do that stuff” and we allow that lie to discredit us before we even try anything. However, this is backwards thinking when we remember that Jesus was the same one who commanded us to do the same things he did. To make matters more complicated and unbelievable, he promised that we would do even “greater things” than He did (John 14:12). Wow.
It doesn’t stop there. We have scriptural evidence showing that this mandate is possible to fulfill as mere mortals. The book of Acts shows us that the disciples took this teaching literally and they too, once baptized in the Holy Spirit, performed works in power as they lived their lives as Christians.
This is the reason Paul wrote, “my message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). I just love that verse. It is a constant reminder for how ministry should look. As the Body of Christ, we must represent Him with excellence. Too often we have turned the faith of “The Way” into a religious constitution that relies far too much on the abilities of man. Instead, we should rely solely on the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite quotes is from Dr. A.W. Tozer where he said,
“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.”
Society has grown frustrated and annoyed by fakeness and we are in a place of craving authenticity. We are created for experience and each of us desires to see power illustrated in something true. We want to encounter something authentic. I believe that the world wants to see the risen Christ lived out in his people. Within all of man’s desires for truth, progress, beauty, goodness, love, and change, the true fulfilment is realized only in the Holy Spirit’s power.
I am hungry to see the authentic Gospel of the Kingdom in full effect. I will not settle for a comfortable life. In response to a dying, lonely, and confused world, we must allow the power of God to transform us, and we must then demonstrate that same power. We must always remember that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead now lives in us (Romans 8:11). We must love the world relentlessly and reveal the Father, just as Jesus did.