My children and I catch up weekly on what was preached in each other’s churches. This is very advantageous in sharing the wealth of God’s word, especially when it is striking! This week, in one of their churches, the sermon was on how we use divine encounters. It was pointed out that when we are in God’s presence or meet His power, we just allow it soothe or comfort us for the moment. Then, we go merrily on our way with no thought for any other. We use such encounters as or for therapy, and nothing beyond it. I was struck by the truth of this and appalled by how we misuse the God of might and power. All we want is a modicum of comfort and a feel-good effect. We don’t go beyond to allow Him to touch us deeply in our being and transform us. How superficial we have become and how wasting of the greatest treasure on earth – the anointing!
King David understood the might of God when he declared: The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” (Psalms 29:4-9 NIV). He chronicles the power of God in many of his psalms and showcases His majesty. In book of the patriarch Job we read: “God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose. He does not keep the wicked alive but gives the afflicted their rights. He does not take his eyes off the righteous; he enthrones them with kings and exalts them forever. (Job 36:5-7 NIV).
God speaks through Isaiah the prophet and declares: Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ (Isaiah 46:9-10 NIV). King David points out: Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign Lord comes escape from death. (Psalms 68:19-20 NIV). We see this escape from death realized in the resurrection of Christ as Apostle Paul writes: By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. (1 Corinthians 6:14 NIV).
Now this same power is powerfully at work within us and Apostle Paul writes thus to the church at Ephesus: I pray 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 his holy people, and his 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, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:18-21 NIV).
The reason he wrote to this particular church is because of its location – Ephesus. This church existed in a place known and famous for the witchcraft, demon worship and blatant sexual misconduct besides blasé immorality. Ephesus was also a powerful centre for commerce and trade, full of wealth and prosperity, second largest city in the Roman Empire. The Apostle encouraged those who lived amidst such forces, exhorting not to fear any of these. Why? Since the power and might of God was at work in and through them and because of their status and standing with Him.
Crux of the Matter
This same God is the One we worship, to Whom we belong, and with Whom we meet every time we pray or read His Word, both individually or coporately, every day and week, wherever and whenever we do.
When we meet with Him, His presence and power is present with us, not to give us just goosebumps or other physical experiences, an emotional release through comfort or such like, a deliverance or healing through signs and wonders. He, the Almighty One, Creator of heaven and earth, One Who knows beginning to end, Who lives beyond time, powerful beyond comprehension, full of wisdom and grace, to Whom angels pay homage and obeisance, and before Him demons cower and tremble, is there to commune with us. He is there to interact with us and work the most difficult miracle of all – changing of hearts and transforming of human beings into His image – to be like Him, His sons and daughters, in reality as in theory!
To meet with Him, day after day, week after week, year after year, and be unchanged or not revamped in our nature is wasting Him and His presence. If metamorphidzo or metamorphosis of our being does not happen, we are frittering away His power. If we have spent time with Him in prayer or conversed with Him through His Word, but come away uncleansed, fettered by habits or not set free from bondages, then we have squandered His grace.
It is good and marvellous to be quietened and calmed by Him, but if that is all we have gained, then we are truly lost! If we use His Presence as a tranquilizer to make us soporific or reposeful, then we are using Him as a drug to get a high! If we use His power for palliative care, then the cancer of sin will destroy us!
If our encounter with Him serves only as a therapeutic session to relax and reassure us, then we have dissipated His resurrection power!
Capacity of God
The greatest potential, capacity and faculty of God is His ability to make us new creation and regenerated creatures, able to bask rather than back away from His throne of glory, joyfully living in the light of His face, daily!
Moses came back from the presence of God with shining face and the ten commandments in his hand. Isaiah saw God, was convicted of his sinful nature, came away cleansed and commissioned. Jeremiah heard God, saw his own inadequacy, was strengthened and ordained a prophet to the nations. Ezekiel beheld the glory of God, fell on his face and was sent to a rebellious nation. The Apostle John met Him, fell at His feet as dead and wrote seven letters to churches.
One of my favorite books is by Paul E Billheimer entitled Don’t Waste Your Sorrows. It explains God’s point of view for our suffering and helps answer the questions that hit us in troubled times.
Likewise, I say: Don’t waste God’s presence, power and glory!
Do you meet with Him for therapy or seek an encounter for transformation?
Stop wasting, not just air, water and other environmental resources, but also the presence of God!
Choose not to use, misuse or abuse Him, but truly honor Him as Lord and God!