The Church was birthed in power. Jesus spoke to His disciples and said: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be My witnesses…” (Acts 1:8). This power first came on the Day of Pentecost as seen in Acts, Chapter 2. This instantly allowed them to move out of the prayer room they had been in and witness about Jesus using the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This was the first day of the Church – it’s birthday. This power continued to be seen throughout the book of Acts and is also seen in each Church that was birthed during the ministry of the early Church, the ministry of the original apostles, and obviously it was seen in the ministry of Paul (example: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
Today we often make excuses for the lack of power in our lives as disciples. However, God is bigger than our excuses, our inadequaced, and lack of ability or resources.
In the story of Gideon in the Old Testament God calls him and asks him to do something really outside his comfort zone as well as beyond his abilities. Gideon, from the start, has one reason after another for not doing what the Lord God was asking him to do. And, he didn’t hide the issues from God. He was bluntly and blatantly honest. “I am weak. In am the least. I am not cut out for this. I have no idea what I am doing.” And God was not bothered in the least.
God replied, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive” (Judges 6:16). Over the next couple of chapters, God seemed determined to prove how little Gideon’s weaknesses mattered. He even reduced the size of Gideon’s army from 32,000 to 300 just to make the odds a little more interesting. Then God used those 300 warriors to rout an innumerable, impossible army.
Never once in the story does God appeared frustrated with Gideon’s lack of ability or manpower. We don’t see God demanding that Gideon work out the details by himself, with his own logic and resources. We actually see the opposite. In stages Gideon took on the courage and character of the God who called him. Gideon’s excuses didn’t change God’s mind. God’s empowerment eliminated Gideon’s excuses.
In this story Gideon’s claim to fame is not his leadership style, his motivational ability, or his military prowess, although each of these was eventually developed in Gideon’s life. It’s his faith, slow starting as it was. He was ultimately willing to believe and obey God. That is what God wants from us as well today. Not incredible strength. God already has that. Not our own natural power. His is greater and supernatural. He just wants us to have simply faith in Him. To be willing to obey Him because we believe Him.
In Mark 16, Jesus has given His last instructions to His disciples (apostles)… summarized – He tells them to go into their world and confront the darkness. He ascends into heaven. Then, amazingly, they actually do what He has asked them to do. They stand up and step out in faith (Mark 16:20) and, because they do, God shows up as promised and shows off .. .working with them to confirm their message.
So, today if we will stand up and step out in faith He will show up and show off demonstrating His power through us who are born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. Those upon whom the Holy Spirit has come.