By Geoff Holsclaw
I don’t know how to do electrical work. When I need to change a light fixture I just look at how the wires fit together on the old one and try to make the new one match. But I do know you need to turn the electricity off when you are working on stuff.
So when I needed to install a new dishwasher I went downstairs, flipped the circuit-breaker, and then disconnected the old dishwasher. I then pulled the new washer over and began hooking up the water and everything.
That’s when I made a discovery—while on the ground, holding the electrical wires, ready to reconnect them, suddenly a giant blue spark jumped from one wire to the other (did I mention I was holding them near my face as I hunched over to see what I was doing).
Evidently I DID NOT flip the proper circuit-breaker. A little freaked out, and glad I didn’t actually kill myself, I raced downstairs and flipped over EVERY SINGLE BREAKER—just to be sure.
The power in my house was OFF! EVERYWHERE!
Is the power off in your spiritual home?
Many of us live like the power is off in our spiritual homes, we live as if there is no power in our lives.
This happens for two reasons:
First, we think that the power of God is exercised in either the past or the future. We look to the past, to the ministry of Jesus, to his life, death, and resurrection and think that this was the definitive display of God’s power, and that our purpose now is to have faith that Jesus—the power of the gospel—saves us. Or we look to the future, to the time that God’s power will make all things right, when the world will be changed and transformed.
Second, we often think that following Jesus, living on the way of the cross is always a critique of power. Power in this view is always bad. Power is what manipulates and controls others. Power abuses and oppresses people. Jesus was a non-violent, peace-loving crusader against power.
Because we either view power as something God did in the past or the future, and/or because we generally believe that exercising power is bad, we live as if the power is off in our spiritual houses, in our lives.
Maybe we huddle in one or two rooms where the lights are on. And we tell ourselves that until Jesus comes in glory this is all we should expect.
The Same Power that Raise Jesus From the Dead
Paul, however, did not think this.
And a Pentecost people does not live this.
In Eph. 1:19-20 Paul prays that they would know God’s “incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the power given to us who believe. This is an extraordinary prayer offered by Paul.
Power of the Spirit
And what exactly is this power? It is the power of the Spirit in us. As Paul says in Romans 8:11: “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your total bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
And this Spirit was not only at work in Jesus’ resurrection. The same Spirit overshadowed Mary in power to begin the life of Jesus (Luke 1:35). The same Spirit empowered Jesus’ ministry throughout his life (Luke 4:4).
The Promise of Power
This is the very same Spirit that Jesus told his disciples to wait for, the Spirit given on the Day of Pentecost. Jesus promised his disciples that they would receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, in order to be his witnesses in the world.
And that power came on Pentecost!
And that same power is falling on Jesus’ disciples ever since.
Are we living our spiritual houses as if the power is mostly off? Living like the power will be turned on only when Jesus comes again and makes all things right? Do we wonder why God doesn’t seem to be doing more in our lives, or the lives of people around us?
If so, let us be a Pentecost people living into the power of Spirit.
(Geoff Holsclaw is a professor at Northern Seminary and pastor at Life on the Vine. If you think there are other ways you’ve lost sight of God’s work in your life, see this FREE Refocusing Faith Checklist).