We are addressing the question of “Where’s the power of God in our churches?” We believe that God is a God of miracles and that He lives within us – so why don’t we see more of His power at work through our lives?
In thinking about this issue, I thought it best to look back at the early disciples and the early Church – to see what they had that, perhaps, we lack. The hope is that in discovering the why behind the power at work through their lives, we could adopt those patterns and principles into our own lives – in the hopes of seeing the same results unfold in our own lives. (There is one major caveat in this… of which I will address at a later date.) But for now, we seek for understanding behind the power at work in those first believers who inspire us in the pages of the Book of Acts…
The first thing we must notice is that the call of Jesus is a call to abandon all… and follow Him. Jesus was very blunt… “Whoever does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” (Matt. 10:38) In its simplest, to “take up our cross” is to willingly embrace the end of our own life (just as they did back in the day when those crucified had to carry their cross to the place of their execution). Those Jesus called to be His disciples knew exactly what He meant. They had to make the choice to abandon everything to walk with Jesus – and receive all that He had to give.
And what Jesus had to give was… Himself. His truth. His grace. His wisdom. His understanding. His guidance. AND His power.
Jesus calls every disciple to abandon the life they know… to discover a life they can ONLY know by possessing Him. And Jesus came to invest Himself in ANYONE who would abandon all to follow after Him.
So we see Peter, James, and John leave behind their boats and their nets to answer the call to follow Jesus.
We see Matthew leave behind his tax collector’s table to answer that same call.
Their livelihood – all they had ever really known – was simply tossed aside to embrace the infinite value of the Lord Jesus… and to give themselves to Him.
When it comes to us, we must begin by asking ourselves the all-important question: “Are WE abandoned to God?” Is Jesus our whole life… or is He, in all honesty, just a part of our lives? What have we left behind and lost… to gain the fullness of Christ?
The real answer to our question (Where’s the power?) is that the Source of that power is Jesus. A truth emerges… Only those who have fully invested themselves in Him will discover that He is fully invested in them!
The story of the early Church begins with the understanding that those first believers had invested all that they were, to know all that Jesus is – and in their full-out commitment to Him, they found that He was fully committed to doing what only He could do, through their lives.
Truly, the fullness of the Kingdom of God can only be placed in empty hands…
Our first lesson to be learned is that IF we desire to see Jesus really show up (in power) in our churches – then it begins with Him showing up in our personal lives. He longs to be our consuming passion. He is eagerly desiring that His people embrace Him with all that they are — so that we might know Him for ALL that He is.
Prayer Focus: God, help me to see every area of my life that needs to be totally surrendered to You. Place within me the longing to be abandoned to You.