Living With Power
Last week, we talked about the authority of life. The authority of life is the empowerment of life.
This week, I am going to talk about a similar theme. I think the Spirit is guiding us into that theme.
This year’s theme is “Be A Witness.” To make us a witness, God gives us the message about the power and the authority.
To be a witness, you will have to have power. Only with power, you can be a bold witness.
That’s why Luke said in his book, Acts.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
Before he told them to be a witness, Jesus told them to receive power first.
Living as a witness is living with power.
That was how the early Christians lived. They were bold. They lived with power and authority. That power and authority did not come from them.
They didn’t have anything. No position in their society, no money, and no powerful connection. They were in the marginalized minority.
Their power and authority came from the Spirit. It was not the power that belonged to them. It was the power that was given to them.
Even though they were weak in every way, they had the power.
St. Paul became a witness after he experienced this kind of power.
…but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
You can be confident ALWAYS in any circumstance when you have the power that comes from outside, not from you.
The power that comes from you can help you only when you are strong. When you are weak, that power disappears.
But the power that comes from God is always with you regardless of the condition you may be in.
Paul knew the secret of this power.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)
The extraordinary power belongs to God not to you. That kind of power gives us confidence in all kinds of situations.
In Our Waiting
We have to have this kind of power. We have to wait for this kind of power.
Isaiah cried out.
…but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Isaiah was talking about the power that comes from God.
Those who wait for the Lord will have new strength. They shall mount up like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.
There are times when we feel tired. There are times when we feel like giving up. There are times when our circumstances are unbearable. There are times when we feel so small.
That was what the Israelites experienced in captivity. As they were taken in captivity, they lost all their dreams. They were losing hope in God. They started thinking that God could not do anything for them.
Isaiah saw that in people. Isaiah saw that they were losing passion for God.
They started becoming inward looking. They ran away into their own small world. They were not captivated only by their enemies. They became captives in their own small world.
When Job lost everything, his friends came to him.
They came to comfort him but they didn’t really comfort him. Rather they took away Job’s last hope.
Job’s last hope was God’s recognition of his own righteousness. His friends took that away from Job.
They tried to prove to Job that he must have done something wrong. When Job saw no hope left for him, he caved into his small miserable world.
What did God do in the end?
This was what God said to Job.
Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
‘Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone?
What is God doing here? He is bringing Job out of his small world and letting him see the bigger world.
Living with Renewed Strength
When we have problems, we often cave into our own small world. That small world is filled with problems, self-pity, anger, disappointment, and fear. In that small world, you lose yourself.
Israelites were the same. Instead of seeing the bigger world, they fell into their own small world of misery and captivity.
That is what colonization does to us. It makes us feel small. It prohibits us from having a big dream. As you become a victim of colonization, you become captivated in your own small world.
Racism is not just about discrimination you experience. Racism makes you feel small. You cannot see a bigger world.
We should live with dreams. We should live with a noble purpose of life.
Life is not just about living comfortably and safely. Life is about living what we were born to do.
I told you this quote before.
A ship in a harbour is safe but that is not what ships are built for.
Early Christians lived as witnesses.
The more persecutions they received, the more actively they proclaimed the good news. They didn’t cave in. They survived very difficult circumstances. They were strong.
That is to live with the power.
Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength.
Power to Live with Faith
In that word “wait”, we see faith and hope.
Because you believe, because you have hope, you wait. When you wait with faith and hope, you will receive the power to live.
Examples are Last Wednesday. 6.25 War: One mother brought 5 children to escape from North. Faith. Another person: Faith of our mothers – amazing.
Yes, that is the power of faith.
When you have faith, you don’t give up even when your circumstances tell you to give up.
When you have faith, you see the future even when your present tells you there is no future.
When you have faith, you can sing in the rain.
No matter what happens to me, if I have faith, I can rise again. Because through faith, I will have the power that doesn’t come from me but given by God.
Living with that kind of power is itself being a witness.
You don’t have to go to Dundas Square and shout out to believe in Jesus.
When you overcome your personal hardships and weaknesses through the power given to you, you already became the witness of Jesus Christ.
Look to God. Don’t look to yourself. Wait for God. Don’t be a prisoner in your own small world.
God will do wonderful things through you. That is to become a witness.