The first chapter of Acts begins with a command from Jesus:
Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” … you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Why is it that the one thing Jesus commanded the disciples wait for, is the one thing so many of us run from today? Why do we run from the power?
Power is the mark that is supposed to define us, accompany us, set us apart, and make us an effective witness. Power is the authority to advance the Kingdom of God and to proclaim the name Jesus wherever we go! Power is the anointing to preach the Kingdom of God and to proclaim the name Jesus to every man, woman and child. We need the Power!
The religious critics of Jesus’ day acknowledged the authority and power of Jesus. They marveled at it and asked Him where it came from. The religious critics also acknowledge the authority and power that Peter and the disciples walked in. They marveled at it and took note that these men had been with Jesus. It seems the religious love to mock, question, and ridicule the power of God, while they also run from it. They will never come to know it, because they refuse to honor it, pursue it, or accept it.
We need the power of the Holy Ghost, so why do we run from it?
Jesus said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” He added, “And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
Drive out demons, speak in new tongues, and heal the sick. These are signs that accompany the power. These are signs that Jesus said should follow the believer.
Do they mark our gospel? Do they mark our life? When is the last time you drove out a demon? When is the last time you spoke in new tongues? When is the last time you laid hands on the sick and saw them healed? Did it happen last week? Is it happening all the time? Is it happening at all?
Is it possible that we’ve reached the point that we are practicing a form of godliness yet denying its power? Is it possible that we have settled for a religion that is a cheap substitute for the relationship we are supposed to enjoy? Is it possible that one day we might stand before our God, our Lord, our Judge and hear Him say, “depart from me for I never knew you”?
Paul said that in the last days even the very elect would be deceived. Have we been deceived?
Where’s the power?
This world is lost, hurting, and dying. They need the power of God to manifest in their lives. They need to be delivered from addictions and bondages, they need to experience Pentecost, and they need to be healed. They need the power!
Why do we run from the power?
We’ve never done a better job at doing church. We have incredible programs. We’ve built magnificent buildings, and touched thousands of lives. But have their lives been transformed by the power of God? Are the sick being healed? Are the bound up and addicted being set free? Are the people being baptized with fire from on high?
Is it possible we are practicing a form of godliness yet denying the power? Are we guilty of substituting an encounter with our programs for an encounter with His presence? Are we guilty of building our own kingdom, while neglecting His Kingdom?
I’ve asked the question, so here are the reasons why I believe we run from the power.
We run because the power is earned on your knees
The average Christian spends less than ten minutes a day in prayer. The cliché church sign, “No Prayer, No Power. Know Prayer, Know Power,” is true. Your prayer life is the measure of your spiritual life. What does your prayer life say about you?
Are you really too busy to pray? Or are you just too lazy?
Leonard Ravenhill preached, “The pastor who is not praying is simply playing, the people who are not praying are straying.” The vast majority of us don’t know how to wait, tarry, and persist in prayer. When was the last time you spent hours in His presence? When was the last time you labored in prayer all through the night?
The anointing of God is not some trinket that is just passed out because you have some degree on your wall. The anointing of God is a gentle dove that is wooed upon your knees! It cannot be acquired in some service or conference. It is acquired and maintained in prayer!
We run because it takes us out of the drivers seat
We like to be in control. We want our hands on the steering wheel. However, when the power of God comes on your life, you have to surrender control to Him. God doesn’t need you or me to lead His church. He can raise up a child or the worst of sinners among us.
“God is in control,” is a comforting thought we love to share with each other. The sovereignty of God is perfect theology. Though it becomes a shaky theory to us that has abandoned the moment we don’t like the direction He’s leading us.
Jesus surrendered His will to the will of His Father. Isn’t it time you did the same?
We run because it places you on the edge
When the power comes on your life, you inevitably stand out. The power will mark you, and set you apart. It places you on the edge, where your flesh is uncomfortable yet faith is activated.
John Wesley said, “I set myself on fire, and people come to watch me burn.” It’s hard to start a fire, and someone not take notice. When the fire comes on your life, people will take notice.
The power places you on the frontlines of ministry. It makes you a threat to hell, but an asset to Heaven. The power makes you stand out and because of it you will be mocked, persecuted and slandered.
We run because of our own insecurity
We lack confidence in Him and His ability to use us. We don’t pray for that cripple in the store, because we are not sure if God will truly heal them. We don’t preach to that man on the street, because we are not sure what he will think. We don’t seek the power because then we’ll be responsible to use it.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, I believe the reason we run from the power is because it excuses us from fulfilling the Great Commission! We teach it, preach it, memorize it, and strategize it. Yet for all the teaching, preaching, memorizing and strategizing, the one thing we forget is to just do it.
I’ve learned that it is far easier to teach something than it is to walk it out. I’ve met plenty of talkers, and very few walkers!
It’s so easy to talk about the power of God yet apparently so hard to walk to the altar, get on our knees and cry out to God for it.
It’s so easy to talk about the power of God yet apparently so hard to relinquish control to Him and say truly say, “I’ll go where you want me to go.”
It’s so easy to talk about the power of God yet apparently so hard to walk right up to the edge where faith is truly activated.
Perhaps it’s time to pause our talking and start doing some walking! It’s time to stop running from the power and start running to it!