I recently had the privilege of spending the weekend at a campground (complete with showers and a kitchen!) with almost thirty beautiful Christian women from my church. Some were friends, some I knew their name and not much else, and some I had never met. I love how God can take a group of people with only Him in common and bring them together like best friends.
The theme for the weekend was God’s power in us. We talked about being plugged in to God’s power. Just like a power cord is plugged into the outlet, an appliance would be of no use without it’s power source. We talked about making sure that we’re not plugged in in vain, kind of like a cell phone charger plugged into the wall but having no cell phone attached to the other end. We need to make sure that when we fill up with His power we don’t just let it sit there, we use it to do His will. We talked about putting our confidence in him who gives us power and not in anything that we can accomplish.
We really had some great discussions. If I shared it all with you I’d be writing a book instead of an article. (Maybe I’ll do that… but not today.) There was one verse in particular that really got my attention, and that’s what I really want to share with you today.
It was the last part of I Corinthians 4: 20, and it was read in The Message. I’ve read this verse many times in other versions and in the greater context of that text. Now let me say I completely believe in studying in context. But sometimes when I isolate just one verse, being careful not to change it’s meaning in so doing, It can really make that verse powerful. (Kind of like how cropping a photo can bring such clarity to the part of the photo you wanted to highlight.) Reading it in a translation other than what I’m used to can help me to get a better picture of what the verse is saying, or a clearer understanding of how it applies to me. In this situation, we did both. We looked at this verse in the context of being clothed in God’s power, and we read it in a translation that I seldom use. Here is how it reads.
God’s way is not a matter of mere talk; it’s an empowered life.
Wow, that really got me excited.
It’s an Empowered Life!
What does this mean?
Well, among other things, it means;
- No more false humility; leaning on my human weakness as an excuse to not be all that God has called me to be.
- No more fear; because if I say “God is in control” and “The Lord is my shepherd”, and then I am rendered useless when fear strikes, it’s just mere talk.
- No more comparing myself to others; In Christ, there is no room for pride, because it is only through his power that I am anything. It also means that I need to stop feeling like I don’t “measure up” when I look around at others who seem to be doing everything right. I have been made perfect- through Christ.
- No more laziness; Rest is one thing, and imperative, wasting time is another. Computer games, online trivia, and worldly t.v. and movies aren’t for me. I have been called to much, much more than that.
- No more busy-ness; It’s time to be more productive, and that takes being less busy.
- It means I’m free! From any of the shackles that would hold me back from being productive in God’s kingdom! God has equipped me for the work he has prepared for me to do. He expects me to get out and do it.
It’s time to stretch, to grow, to do the next thing.
That next thing might be something within your own heart- an attitude that needs reshaping, a fear that needs to be cast out, a desire that needs to be kindled. Or it could be something on the outside, a physical job that God has empowered you to do.
The Message states John 15: 5 this way; I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
Are you living an empowered life?