Renewed By God’s Spirit and Power
“I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate . . . But . . . God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life and faith is a response to God’s power, not some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2-5 (The Message)
My work week had been exhausting. When I got up on Saturday morning, I felt drained – spiritually, physically, and emotionally. Then I realized that I had to preach and lead worship the next morning. I love to preach, but I felt tired, unfocused, and not even in a mood to preach on Sunday. I’d rather have stayed home and rested on that rainy November weekend. I groaned, and this groaning of my spirit was a prayer for the Spirit and Power of God.
Mysteriously, time and again, I have felt my strength and spirit renewed by God’s Spirit. It happened again this time. Suddenly I felt ready to prepare my message, in constant prayer seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit that the message may be truthful, powerful, relevant, and full of grace. This process of partnering with God energizes me and propels my faith to go deeper and broader.
We all get into situations that we feel unprepared for, too tired to do, totally unfocused to accomplish, or a number of other reasons we could fail at a task that is set before us. When we find ourselves in a situation like that we have two choices. We can either dig deep and rely on our own strength and wisdom or we can submit to God our inadequacies and weaknesses and rely on the Holy Spirit. Sometimes digging deep into our own well will get us through, but if we rely on the Holy Spirit then we will be graced with what we ourselves lack and we will give honor and glory to God.
In those times when I’d rather nap than preach I move quickly into prayer. I confess to the God that I can’t do what I am being called to do, sometimes confessing that I don’t even want to preach. I pray that God will so fill me with the Holy Spirit that this last message will be given with godly focus, power, and wisdom so that all the honor and glory may be given to God. I then enter the service, I preach, the service ends, and I am amazed and overwhelmed at the power of God! It truly wasn’t me â€“ it was the Holy Spirit!
Bringing It Home:
1. What in your life have you been working hard at on with just your own power and coming up short? In prayer, partner with God so that you can serve God beyond your own abilities!
2. Do you know someone who is struggling with something they are trying to do without the power of God in their lives? Invite them to ask God to help them.
God, I confess that I too often live my life and serve you on my own power. Please forgive me for not asking you to be the power in my life. Guide me, grant me your Spirit’s wisdom and strength so that the life you call me to will honor you. Amen.
John A. Holm
Transforming Church Institute