Friday, July 5, 2013
Power in partnership with God
Set out, show, say, stand, SAVE
I became a Christian in the relatively early era of charismatic renewal in the 1970s. The ‘life of the Spirit’ was exciting, churches that were embracing it were growing rapidly and it was an exciting time. Verses like this one were well known and were what you learned to pray in a sticky situation.
Much of this was good. Some wasn’t. The ministry style was hard-nosed. The new style of more prophetic Bible teaching had an authority, but leadership didn’t always carry this with servant humility. There was reaction, and conflicts, leading to splits and new churches emerging. The new growth and sense of being real with God rather than cerebral in Bible knowledge was great – but the hurts that went with it were not. There was a lack of love and a lack of mission and little sense of community connection.
“The One who is in you is greater…” That speaks of power. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, brings kingdom power and authority. The older form of sit-and-listen Christianity was often powerless, and had a low expectation of being able to bring change, heal or transform. So when we discovered the power, it is not surprising that we went a bit overboard with it.
Time brings perspective, and there’s a maturity with that. What we are learning this week is how the context for the power must be love. God is love, and His Spirit is deeply loving and comforting in His commitment to us and understanding of us. This is the power of close partnership. It would not be unrealistic to say that God’s covenant love is the power – the weight of the arrow if you like – with the “greater One” expression being the breakthrough tip that can penetrate the armour of strongholds and tough situations.
What we are learning is how we move through a process, from setting out intentionally to join God in what he is doing, showing we are His because of the way we live and act – and what we say; and standing with confidence against the attacks which come as we head for the place where the ‘gold’ is delivered.
This is about God’s plan and purpose to save. Despite our tendency to negativity, this is the business which He is always about. He is looking for people, made in His image, who need spiritual salvation, emotional and physical healing and spiritual freedom. he is looking to give. Our job is to find people and help them to be looking to receive. When the one looking to receive meets the one looking to give, a healing, saving, freeing encounter takes place.
The process is about God’s heart of generosity, but it only works with those who will, with a mustard seed of faith, turn to Him and accept Him – in particular, accept His Son Jesus as Lord. People need help with that – it’s called making disciples – which is why the church is set up with the commission to “…go and make disciples… teaching them…” to do the same things. The things that Jesus taught and demonstrated. The things which will help others to become disciples, too.
This disciple life we are caught up in is powerful – we do find ourselves being used as God’s channels. It is a life that works. But above all, it is very counter-cultural – it loves sacrificially. Because it is so unfamiliar, so counter-cultural, that is usually where the process falls down. That is why this teaching is vital.
We know we are loved, by a God who chose us and now chooses to partner with us. And we have within us the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. That’s a life-giving combination.
To think about and share: If you were the enemy, how would you stop an individual (like yourself) or a group or a church from taking hold of this and acting on it?