Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
1 Corinthians 4:18-21
Paul’s words to us are very clear. When it comes to power in the kingdom of God, we better do more than just talk. The problem is that much of what’s called power in the kingdom today is just that – talk. The first step toward walking in the power of God is to understand what true power is all about.
Let’s start by looking at things from a natural perspective. When we talk about power it’s usually in the context of electrical power. We use phrases like power lines, power plant, and power outages. We think of electricity as being a form of power. This can help us to understand spiritual power.
Simply put, the definition of power is the same whether you’re talking about electricity coming into your house, or the power of God to heal the sick. The International Edition of the Webster Comprehensive Dictionary defines it in the following way:
“Power is the ability to act. It is the property of a thing that is manifested in effort or action, by virtue of which that thing produces change.”
Let me boil it down for you. True power is the ability to produce change. Change is the keyword. It takes power to transform water at room temperature into hot water for a cup of tea. It takes power to get a one-ton car to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour. It takes power to transform a body from sickness to health. It takes power to change a liar into a saint. It takes power to replace guilt with innocence.
If we understand this correctly, then the verse above should bring new understanding. It’s our assignment in the Kingdom of God to produce change. It’s not about how well you can speak about it. Change is the priority. Is the church producing change?
You have to remember that this passage was written when Christians were the people who were “turning the world upside down”. In light of this, how powerful is the kingdom of God today? In order to answer that we must ask, how much change is being produced in the church today?
The unfortunate answer is – not much. In many churches around the country, few are being healed, set free from sins, or seeing great growth in their spiritual lives. It seems that we’ve become masters of talking as if there’s power in our lives.
We say things like, “That was a powerful message.” Or, “We had a powerful service last night.” I’ve also heard, “She has a powerful anointing to sing.”
But if no one leaves the service changed, then there was no power manifested in the service. There are plenty of unsaved actors and singers that can evoke an incredible emotional response from their audience, but that’s not power. People weeping during the service is no indication of any power.
We’ve learned to cover over our powerlessness by calling emotionalism power. The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter how many people wept, how many chills ran down your spine, or how many people were slain in the spirit. If no one was changed, then there was no power.
Do you want to walk in the true power of God? Then you need to stop talking about it, and admit your lack – if that’s the case. We need a true, Biblical knowledge of what it is and how to use it. We need to seek God for a touch from His hand. That’s where true change – true power – originates from.
Question: What does a church look like that’s walking in the power of God?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi