Have you every met anyone that was “all talk and no action?” I bet you have. I worked out a lot in college with weights, I mean all the time. I drank the protein, did the routines, pumped iron twice a day and all that stuff. So I spent most of my free time in the gym with the big guys. I guess I thought if I was around them then maybe I would become one of them. There is something about perspective, fear and expectation that changes when you are around people who make your personal best their warm-up. No kidding. One day I had a buddy come in and do his warm-up reps for shoulder press using my 3 rep max weight. That will get you pretty discouraged or encouraged depending on your hunger and motivation. For me I just got really hungry and pushed harder. These guys were also the ones that would spot your lifts and give you huge motivation. They never said “boy are you a wimp” or try to find another lifting partner to replace you. These “powerful” guys knew their power and had confidence in who they were. They didn’t need my compliments and didn’t feel held back by my light weight stature. As a matter of fact my goals became their goals. It was awesome having these super strength dudes pulling for me.
Then in walks the guy. This is the one that is “really pretty” and he knows it. His car is fancy. His hair is perfect. His teeth are whitened. He scopes out the girls in the gym before he talks to anybody. He tans in the morning and “pumps” in the afternoon. He is always checking himself out in the mirror and flexes every time a good-looking girl looks his way. He is a talker. He loves to tell his personal stories of success instead of really working out. He never lifts heavy because “you know the injury” or “he is working reps for definition not heavy lifting for bulk.” He claims to not need to lift the heavy weights because he doesn’t believe in bulking up. His words and self-proclaimed expertise are his legitimacy. If you ask him for help with a weight he is too busy telling someone else his story. He rarely sweats but often comments. He has an opinion about everything and knows exactly the right way to do everything.
In these last few posts I have attempted to clear up some confusion about our walk with Jesus. For many their beginning is their end. They make it to the cross and hang out there instead of receiving the gift of Christ in us the hope of glory. They are content with doctrine instead of relationship. There are happy with the water of mercy but refuse the fire of refining. They just don’t believe that they have not only been picked to be in the family but to operate as Jesus did, as a child of God. In this post I want to encourage you to move beyond words and step into power. Anyone can have a persuasive argument about anything. I can convince you of any opinion I have and call it truth by using passages in the Bible. Really I can and the enemy has been doing that for a very long time. Don’t believe me? How did the devil tempt Jesus? He used scripture.
Eloquent speech, smooth delivery and refined debating skills do not bring people into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus does. My best argument will not make a person a child of God, Jesus will. My very best emphatic plea of desperation will not move anyone towards the King, Jesus draws them. I can’t put the “fear of God” on anyone and have them chose Jesus over hell. It is the goodness of God that leads people to change their mind, not the fear of eternal torment. The Holy Spirit is the evangelist. I am just His messenger. Jesus is the deliverer. I am just the conveyor. Our Abba Father is our lover unto salvation. I am just the one that gets to show it. I get to be like Jesus to others so they are drawn to seek, ask, knock…He answers the door. I demonstrate what a loving, right relationship looks like. They see and are drawn to the light. I live this life in power and they see, feel and experience the love of God manifest. That brings them to a decision. The get to see God in action like Jesus and are provided an opportunity for change. They see the redeeming work of God in a man and are compelled to surrender or flee. They get to see what it looks like for a man to be free and filled with the Holy Spirit so they have to choose. For any of this to happen we have to be filled with the Spirit of God. We have to host the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. For this to happen we have to reflect the image of Christ as a Christ filled believer. I can’t do it in my effort. He wants to do it and died to make it so.
Maybe this is too much “philosophy” so let me show you a couple of verses that might convince you of this truth…words and power are required. Words are not enough.
1 Cor 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (ESV)
1 Cor 2:2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (ESV)
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (ESV)
Acts 10:38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. (NLT)
The word power in all these verses is the same word used for miracles or might works. It is the Greek word that is the origin of Dynamite. It means supernatural, divine, from God, Holy-Spirit-provided, through-a-man, demonstrated power. It also says that this charisma gift is founded and perfected in love. Out of our compassion and love flows the power of God to demonstrate and manifest His manifold love. It isn’t our words presented as an argument. It is His words and His power as an expression. Without the power the words are no better than a geometric proof. Without the Holy Spirit, a comprehensive exhortation regarding the finer points of doctrinal indoctrination into a card-carrying community is pointless. Without the love of God expressed as power, a fear-motivated debate can crush a person and likely push them away.
I liked working out with the powerful guys. It may have taken me a while to reach their level but I was never lacking motivation. I didn’t trust the smooth talking pretty boy. His words were hollow, shallow and pointless. I would rather be around guys who could back up what they claimed. I preferred the mighty men. I never felt fear or rejection by these power lifters. I was happy to call them my friends. I looked forward to working out again with them. I couldn’t wait to see what one of them might accomplish. Who am I kidding…I couldn’t wait to see what I might accomplish with their help.
Stop with the debate. Accept the gift of resurrection power in the Holy Spirit. Stop fighting on the enemy’s battle ground of powerless words and smooth presentation. We won. He lost. Living righteous is living as God intended which is being filled with Him. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you. You decide. Is it just words or Words with Power?