So why does the Church have so little of God’s power evident in her daily life? Why does the modern Church walk in powerlessness and simply seem to be playing religious games while so many go to Hell and a Christless eternity every day?
Let me suggest that it is because we have forgotten how to walk in love – His love. It has nothing to do with needing to learn another and better evengelism programs and new evangelistic methods. It has nothing to do with our level of faith or our boldness in sharing. It has absolutely nothing to do with how much of God’s Word we have read, know and understand. It boils down to one thing and only one thing – love.
We are, in so many ways, a selfish Church whose focus is on “self”. We believe and have faith but our faith has been on “self” and what we can receive from God because we are believers. The extreme case of this focus is the wealth and health gospel (which isn’t THE gospel) being preached in North America and now spreading to many other parts of the world. Believers are hungry for God – but again the true root of that hunger is to see how we can benefit right now from having a relationship with God our heavenly Father. Seldom do we “count the cost” of following Jesus or “take up our cross daily”.
I believe that the true source of the apostle’s power was that they were focused on being “in Jesus” and this meant that they were also in the Father’s love. You can not be focused on Jesus – who is the exact representation of the Father – without being in the Father’s love which, when the time was right, released Him from heaven and He was born in Bethlehem as King. Selfless love poured out on the behalf of others. As we walk in that “selfless love” as first seen in Jesus we too will experience the supernatural and fulfill the scriptural promise of Jesus to His disciples … “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12)
The focus of our faith and of our hunger for God has been on self. Selfless love has been in short supply, and so miracles and the release of full power in biblical measure has been restrained. Example: We seek financial prosperity for the sake of feeding an already decadent lifestyle. Instead, we should seek material blessings so that we can give more away while living a very simple and basic lifestyle ourselves – maybe even living on less. Example: We seek inner healing of past wounds and relational issues so that we will hurt less and be healthy – thus seeking it for “self” and not for “love” so that we can then “comfort others with the comfort that we have been comforted with”.
Loren Sandford states, “Inner healing must be for the attaining of the Lord’s own nature that we might do His works, not for the attaining of our own happiness for the purposes of self. Inner healing must facilitate abiding in Him by cleaning up the place of abiding, so that His love can flow from us.” I totally agree.
The early Church was obsessed with being “in Jesus” which meant that they were also in the Father’s love. They walked in that love and gave it away at every opportunity given to them by the Holy Spirit. Their PASSION for Jesus became comPASSION for others and so they shared the good news of salvation everywhere they went and on a daily basis and God’s power was released resulting in miracles, signs, and wonders being experienced.
I believe that the anointing and the power of God has been upon us all along – but love (which activates and releases the power) has been lacking in many cases. So, we have walked in the flesh and developed programs to fill the void. Instead, we should have turned away from and not relied on the flesh and walked in the Spirit; we should have obeyed scripture when it states: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” It is not too late!
We walk in powerlessness – not because we lack faith – but because we have experienced so little of God’s love. We don’t have enough love. As long as our focus is on ourselves (individually or as local churches) we will continue to lack the level of love needed to be “other-focused” and reach out and “love our neighbours” telling them about Jesus and seeing the Gospel work with power. Afterall, “the gospel is the power of God unto salvation”.
Paul states (Romans 15:18-19): “For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed, in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”
To fully preach the Gospel we need to do so with words and power – and to do so we need to walk in the Father’s love, hand-in-hand with Jesus.
May 2009 see the Church turn her eyes on Jesus and her heart towards the Father. May 2009 see an encounter with the love of God that radically transforms the Church (and thus believers) as we now know it. May 2009 see the world truly impacted by the Gopel as we give it away in love and watch as the Holy Spirit backs up our feeble attempts to share the good news with power – miracles, signs and wonders. 2009 – a year of power if…