Receiving God's Power
Have you ever felt so weak that you could not take another step? Have you ever felt so inadequate for a task that you almost quit before you began it? Our own power is infinitesimal compared to the power of the Holy Spirit. How do we acquire the Holy Spirit's power? First we must admit our weaknesses, and then we must avoid our enemy's ambushes.
The apostle Paul discovered the secret of power through the Holy Spirit when he openly confessed his weaknesses instead of bragging about his own strengths. In dealing with his thorn, Paul prayed repeatedly for God to remove this weakness in him. Yet God answered him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9). Through this trial, Paul learned firsthand about the power of God: "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (>2 Corinthians 12:9, 2 Corinthians 12:10).
Paul was conscious of his shortcomings and realized that he was nothing without God. He knew he did not have the power to overcome his temptations, but he knew through God's power he would be victorious. Paul felt pain, sorrow, and need, yet when the power of the Holy Spirit flowed through him, he experienced joy, contentment, and peace.
God's power in us works best when we admit our shortcomings and weaknesses and rely on His strength alone. We crowd out the potential for God's power when we rely on our own abilities, talents, or intelligence. Like Paul, we should rejoice whenever we remember our weaknesses because then we will be able to see God's full work and power within us.
In our own strength, we will fail every time. We will give in to the world's temptations and philosophies and cravings for power. Paul warned, "Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:5-6).
In addition to admitting our weaknesses, we must also avoid the enemy's ambushes. We must constantly be aware and prepared for the traps of the devil. We cannot afford to live in ignorance or denial. When we are informed and ready, we are more likely to avoid the traps "in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes" (2 Corinthians 2:11).
What are some of the ambushes we need to be aware of? One tactic Satan uses is convincing us that God's principles do not work in a fallen world and we need to depend upon our own ingenuity to survive. He lures us into the trap of worldly power by calling it practical and realistic. Instead, we need to exercise faith in the living God, the One who will carry us through until the end.
We are ambushed when we seek out the Holy Spirit hoping our lives will become supernaturally easy and smooth. However, the Bible does not teach us that we will live a stress-free life in the Holy Spirit, but rather He will equip us to face these difficult times.
A third ambush is the temptation to indulge our feelings of inadequacy and failure, which leads to focusing more on ourselves than on God. The Holy Spirit wants to empower us, but we need to surrender our shortcomings to Him instead of holding on to them.
Are you actively seeking the Holy Spirit's power in your life or are you depending upon your own strength? Are you keeping your path clear for the Holy Spirit, or are you getting sidetracked by the devil's ambushes? Ask the Holy Spirit to show you how to draw from His power more effectively.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes."
Ephesians 6:10, 11
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