“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim 1:7).
Power is an interesting word that can carry with it several ideas. We may think of power connected to electricity, and when we lose it we realize how dependent we have become on it. We like having power. Sometimes the statement, “We have no power,” becomes a bit of a code for “look at our plight,” when we are really saying, “This is pretty inconvenient.” In some cases, that power can mean life or death, which makes many of our complaints seem petty. Power has saved lives. Then there are the vast numbers of people in the world without such power at all, and they manage normal days without it and may not feel as though they miss it. And let’s not forget that the vast majority of people who lived before our modern era never knew such power at all. May God help us put this perspective!
Power is much more than electrical, of course. The term can also indicate one’s abilities to accomplish something. I have power to turn my power at my residence on or off provided we have power. I have power to write something (for good or ill). I have power to stand, walk, and eat. We all have different levels of ability and opportunities that allows us to act with some sense of power. To be empowered is to enabled, and we often see this is a vital part of who we are. We do not like feeling powerless.
Power also means strength, and this can be good or bad. We think of political power or the power that one individual might have over another. We think of positions of power and authority. Such power can be wielded for the good of others, but often power is corrupted and becomes abusive and oppressive. God has words for people who abuse the powerless (cf. Isa 1:17).
But here’s where I really want to go: we all have access to the very same power, and this is the power found in Jesus Christ. The power of God is seen in the cross for those who are being saved, and this is no little power (1 Cor 1:18). Our faith needs to rest not in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Cor 2:5). Through Christ, then, we will be able to accomplish all that He intends by His strength (Phil 4:11-13). It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we have hope (Rom 15:13). We can go on a long time in these thoughts, but the reason we have power is that God has the ultimate power to empower us. Think of God’s power for a moment:
“When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses” (Exod 14:31). “Your right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power…” (Exod 15:6). “Be exalted, O LORD, in Your strength; We will sing and praise Your power” (Psa 21:13).
From the New Testament perspective, God’s power is demonstrated through Christ, and because He has such power, He empowers His people. Meditate on these great thoughts in Ephesians 1:19-21:
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
The biblical theme of power is impressive and something we would do well to think about because it is rooted in God. God has all power and from Him comes power given by His grace that we may live an abundant life through Christ. This is available to all, whether they have physical power, electrical power, or any other kind of power. God’s power, strength, and authority is offered to all, and this empowers us to do what we need to as we stay true to Him: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Phil 4:13). But we must relinquish our own sense of personal power (deny self) if we will see God’s power for what it is and what it can accomplish in our lives. God surely emboldens us with a spirit of power.