Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Power of God

What the church needs today is the power of God. How can that power be unleashed?

We live in challenging times. As Christians, we are concerned about many of the changes in society which often have an impact on our own families. There are so many alternative narratives to which people are exposed – many are being sucked into other paradigms of thinking. The materialism of the Western world has given way to godlessness. More and more people in the Western world do not believe in God. Although we as Christians may point to many things beyond our control which drive this process, we should also ask what we can do in a time like this.

What can we as Christians do? So often Christians think in terms of their own efforts. What they can do or try to do. Rarely does one hear that Christians speak about what God can do. Yes, they believe that God would help them and that they are doing things in His name. The problem is, however, that all the human efforts in the church are often merely human efforts. Although God's name is constantly mentioned and many things are being done in His Name, the results are meagre and without real impact. In fact, it often seems that all are merely organizational stuff, not so dissimilar from any other social club. There is no deep desire that God should come in his power and do what only he can do.

I believe that we as Christians have lost our vision of God. We are working and praying. We try our very best. But in all of this, we are merely concerned with what we think that we should do. In the Book of Acts, we read that Jesus warned the disciples that they should not even try to do anything in his name if they are not empowered through his Holy Spirit. He said that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit comes over them and that they would then be able to reach the ends of the world with the gospel. Against all odds and in the face of great institutionalized opposition and persecution from within the great Roman Empire and its powerful emperors, the church spread all over the known world in a relatively short period.

When we read through the Book of Acts we see that God used the church as a mighty instrument. The power of God was manifested through the church. God used both simple people like the fishermen-apostles and learned people like St. Paul in a powerful way to establish his church all over the world. The single most important characteristic of the early church was the manifestation of the power of God in their midst. And this is our problem: the most important feature of the present day church is its powerlessness. In our day there are a vast variety of churches in the Western world, some of which are more driven and enthusiastic than others in their efforts – but we do not see the power of God in action. We do not see that God changes society. We do not see that the bastions of power are in any significant way challenged by the power of God working through the church.

If Jesus forbade the apostles in the early church from proceeding with their mission without his power, is the same not true today? If they had to fully surrender to God so that he could use them in his enterprises irrespective of the cost involved, is that not also true today? If they had to die to all their own ambitions and desires – even insofar as their efforts in the kingdom of God are concerned – is that not true for today? If St.Paul had to come to the place where Christ and him alone was his heart's desire – is not that also what God expects from us today?

God cannot use us if we are not willing to die – to fully surrender to his will and become mere instruments in his hand. Our single biggest problem is that as church leaders we have great ambition for our own ministries and think that we are very important to God – whereas we ourselves and our self-centeredness are in fact the greatest problem. We stand in God's way to reveal Himself in powerful ways in our day and age.

The church must return to the basics. The church must become aware of their own need for God. The church must rediscover Christ and the power of his Spirit. We would only see God working again in power through his church if we stop playing religion and start humbling ourselves before God. The church has to fully surrender to God – and allow him to use us as He pleases. This will only happen if individuals – Christians who are deeply concerned about the dispositions of their own hearts – humble themselves and fully surrender to God to do with them as He pleases. Are we really willing to do that? Are we really willing to die to ourselves?

That dear saintly man of God, George Muller, once wrote: "There was a day when I died; utterly died to George Muller, to his opinions, preferences, tastes and will, died to the world, its approval or censure; died to the approval or blame of even my brethren and friends. Since then I have studied to show myself approved only to God". That is the basic need of the church. This is the one thing that Christians do not talk about. This is the one thing that we try to ignore. But this is the ONE THING that God requires. If we are not willing to fully surrender to God, He cannot use us as he wishes. As such we cannot be the instruments of his power.

If we want to see the power of God in action, we have to humble ourselves – both as leaders and as those who serve in all sorts of ministries. The church has to surrender to God if she wants to see his power in action. The question is: how bad must things get before this will happen. May God help us to stop talking and take him serious when he said that he cannot use us if we are not filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Author: Dr Willie Mc Loud (Ref. wmcloud.blogspot.com)

See also
Wrong choices
Meeting God
God hoor
Something or Someone is missing? (Dr. Francois Carr)
Revival is of the Lord (Arjan Baan)
A message for the church
Die profeet
Om God te glo