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The Purpose Of Power
In II Tim 2:1 Paul said to Timothy, "You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Be strong in God's grace. Why do we need this power?
There are a couple reasons. We need it because our strength will not survive the dry times, nor will our strength stand in the heat of the battle. How many people in the army of God do we know who have gone AWOL? They sign up quick. They enlist on an impulse, giving their hearts to the Lord. Then all of a sudden things get heated up, and they are gone. They leave as fast as they get on board. When you sign up, you do sign up for the army of the Lord. However, God says, "I will give you strength to stand; I will give you strength to survive and I will give you staying power. If you try to fight one or two battles in your own strength, it's not going to take too long before you figure out -- I do not like this." You just cannot do it in your own strength. It has to be in the ability of God.
Everybody is going to have dry times. Nobody is immune to dryness. Nobody is immune to dry times. We all have dry times. What is going to keep you going in the midst of those dry times? It is His power -- certainly not yours, you are dry. Another quote from William Gernel is, "The one who abandons faith in the midst of a spiritual drought can be compared to a fool who throws away his pitcher the first day the well is dry."
You also need this power so that you can have confidence in the midst of the battle. You get in the midst of the battle and things are heated up, and all of a sudden, you are asking, "God, are we going to be able to do this okay? Are we going to be able to finish? Am I going to survive this? This certainly looks awfully big. This thing looks enormous; it looks a lot bigger than I first thought. It seems to be getting bigger!"
In the midst of the battle, you need to know God is bigger and greater. You need to know there is nothing bigger than God. Sometimes God lets us go through big battles just so we can see how large it is so that we can know God is much bigger. We can see that no matter what we face, no matter how large it is, no matter how impossible it may seem, God is bigger than that. God wants us to know just how big He is. Whenever we are in the arms of the biggest daddy in town, we win. There is nobody bigger than He is.
Why do you not see this power? It could be that you have seen it, but you did not recognize it. It came in a different way than you expected. You were looking out the window, and it came through the back door. You have a problem and you pray to God, "Oh, God, I am going to get rid of this. Oh, God, oh, Lord, I have to get rid of this problem. Oh, Lord, give me some relief; remove this thing from me." You pray and pray, and you think that nothing is happening. The problem is still large, and you start complaining to God, "Why didn't you come through for me?" And God says, "I did. Who gave you the power to go through it? Who gave you the power to endure it?" God says, "I came through; I gave you My power. It just wasn't the way that you wanted it." We are usually very good about suggesting to God how He should answer our prayers. But God is still God, and He is going to do it His way because He is God.
Since He is God, we will let Him do it His way. Maybe His answer seems to be taking a long time. It could be that God purposely delayed it, and He may do something like that in order to strengthen our faith. What do you do when babies begin to walk? You stand them up and say, "Come on. Walk to Daddy." The child is over there and all of a sudden it begins to fall. What do you do? You bait the child. He gets close, and as he gets close, you move back a tad. When He gets close again, you move back again. You are not doing this to be mean or cruel. You are not doing it to taunt or tease. You want him to walk on his own.
We never walk on our own with the Lord, but sometimes He leaves us in places where it stretches our faith. God will stretch your faith, and He will leave you in places to stretch your faith and to build your faith -- to grow you and to mature you. That may be one of the things happening. God just baits you a little bit, getting you to come on, but in the midst of that, God really does know what He is doing. Remember, He is God! God does not make mistakes.
Hindrances To Power
The last thing: You may be hindering the flow of power, and the hindrance can come from many different things. It could come because there is sin in your life. You are expecting God to flow through you, to give you power in this area, but there is something you are unwilling to give up and forsake. You give it up periodically just so you can get more power. God wants you to burn the bridge to that thing, so that you stay in this side of the yard and not that one. God wants you to remove that barrier. He wants you to get rid of that thing. He wants you to repent, turn from it, and turn to Him. Confess it as sin, turn it over to God, and turn from it.
It could be that you do not see the power of God because you are not one of God's kids. It could be that you do not have a relationship with God. It could be that you are not experiencing His power because you never have given your heart to Him. You have never asked Jesus to come into your life and be your Lord and Savior, your boss, your leader, and the forgiver of your sin. The good news is that today you could change that part, because if you do not have a relationship with God you can come into one today. In order to do that, you first have to admit that you need Him. The truth is that everybody needs God, and everybody needs power. You have to admit that you do not have it. You have sin in your life. Your sin separates you from God and you do not know God. You cannot have a relationship with Him because of sin, and something has to take care of that sin and that is why Jesus died on the cross. He paid the penalty for your sin and the sins of the whole world. Receive what He did for you so you can have a relationship with Him. You have to ask Jesus to come into your heart. Part of the equation is not just saying, "Forgive me," but it is saying, "My life now belongs to you." I know many people say, "I want to be free of the sin, but I am not so sure about giving my life to Jesus." Those both have to be there, not only asking forgiveness but also giving your life to Him. He will then be the boss -- the ruler of your life. Are you willing to do that?
You may be insecure but if you would like to firm it up, I want you to pray this prayer to Jesus. Say it in your heart. Say it to Him. He hears you. He is listening to you right now. Say this prayer:
"Dear Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I admit that my sin has separated me from You, but now I realize that You love me and You died on the cross for my sins. Forgive me for my sins. Come into my life and I will follow You wherever You lead me. Thank You for coming in. Amen."