joining the dots

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How much confidence do you have in the gospel? (Part 4, Power of the gospel: Do you lack confidence in God’s power?)

Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 first.

Over the past few days we’ve been considering how much confidence we have in the gospel. So far we’re thought about this in terms of knowledge and experience. In this, the final post, we’re going to think about it in terms of power – do you lack confidence in God’s power? This is perhaps a more common problem that we might think, for many, it’s not so much about a lack of confidence in the gospel, it’s actually more to do with a lack of confidence in God.

In the UK we take electricity for granted. You flick a switch and the light comes on. However, in Uganda it was very different. Often we only had a few hours of electricity each day, and at one point we went a whole month without any. In Uganda, before I went to bed, I often made two plans for the next day, one for if there was power and another for if there wasn’t. In this country we rarely notice electricity, it’s just there, and therefore we rarely talk about it. However, inUganda, electricity is often the topic of conversation. They talk about electricity in the same way we talk about the weather!

We also noticed electricity more in Uganda, not just because of its unreliability, but also because it was a lot more shocking – literally. Their wiring standards are not quite as high as ours, earthing is an optional extra that most people don’t worry about and also, during rainy season you realise that the damp courses in many buildings are somewhat inadequate. Therefore, every time you turn on a switch, you might get an electric shock, you get in a shower and you might find that the water is electrically charged, and we soon learnt that using a laptop while not having anything on your feed was a no no!

My point, in case you are wondering is this: In this country we don’t really notice electricity, it’s just there. InUganda, you do notice electricity because it’s not always there.

We can make some comparisons here to God’s power. Do we sometimes lack confidence in the gospel because we are unaware of God’s power at work? Back in Jesus’ day, the power of God seemed so obvious – both in Jesus’ words and actions. There was knowledge of God’s power and people experienced God’s power. Have we lost that sense of God’s power?

Like electricity in the UK, God’s power is always at work – it’s just that we might not be very good at paying attention to what he’s up to. Around the world, God is busy. Around the world amazing things are happening. God’s transforming power is at work.

One of the things I love about my job is hearing stories week in and week out about what God is doing around the UK; exciting stories of churches growing, people coming to Christ and lives being transformed. God is at work; his power is evident all around us. The question is, are we paying attention?

Let’s think about God’s power for a moment. Ephesians 1:18-20 says, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. The power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead…”

God’s power created the universe and raised Christ from the dead. That’s a lot of power! That same power is still at work today, restoring creation through Jesus, rescuing humanity from sin, transforming lives and leading us down a path that leads to a new heaven and a new earth, where there will be no more pain, tears, suffering and death. That’s the macro picture, that’s the big picture. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is still at work today.

But there’s also a micro picture, and this is a little mind blowing! If we zoom in from looking at the entire space-time continuum and focus on our lives we discover that God’s power is at work in our lives. The same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in us. The Holy Spirit has been sent to transform us from the inside out and empower us to transform the lives of those around us.

God’s power, God’s mighty power is flowing through the earth. We just need to tap into that power. In Uganda, the stealing of electricity is common. One way people to do this get a long pole, with a piece of curved metal on the top of it, and a wire running down it, and then they simply hook this pole over the overhead cables. Dangerous, but effective. They find themselves hooked into the power grid. Now, don’t dwell too much on the criminal aspect of this illustration, however, it illustrates well the point that God’s power is flowing through the earth, we just need to tap into that power!

My first question was, “Is your gospel too small?” My final question is, “Are your prayers too small?” The size of your prayers is a good indicator of how much confidence you have in God’s power.

If this resonates with you, I encourage you get praying. Pray bigger prayers, and also make a note of what you’re praying, then you can keep track of just how many of your prayers God answers. He not necessarily going to answer them in the way you expect him to or want him to, but God never ignores our prayers.

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About Phil Green

By day I work for the Evangelical Alliance, by night I lead a small charity called a little bit of HOPE.

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This entry was posted on 17/05/2012 by in thought and tagged , , , , , , .

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Copyright © 2009-2012 Phil Green
a little bit of hope
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