Divine power. Supernatural ability. Going beyond human strength, human limits. Being something more. For years we have been infatuated with the idea of having power – even from the very beginning. It’s one of the reasons we like super-heroes… because they have strength and abilities beyond regular humans.
If we are being honest, “regular” human beings are rather weak on their own. Relying on devices and machines to accomplish most of our advanced tasks… not even the strongest among the animals when compared strength for strength and speed for speed.
Yet we have access to something that these others do not have, we have access to divine power which would actually put our favorite comic book heroes to shame – the kind of power that makes evil forces run and hide in terror. It has been given to us by God Himself.
This probably sounds to good to be true, and you’re doubting it in your mind right now… but I’m going to prove it in scripture, and by the end of this study today, you’re going to realize just how strong you truly are, and how to receive divine power; not just a nice thought or a warm fuzzy feeling – but real and effectual power that makes a difference.
As we begin today, let’s just cut right to the heart of the matter with 2nd Timothy 1:7, to establish that first of all, God indeed given us power:
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
So what we can plainly see here, is that we have been given a spirit – now by itself, this statement wouldn’t mean much of anything; “I have been given a spirit, well okay, thanks.”
However the scriptures also tells us several details here… first that the giver of this spirit which we have been given, is God. Now that’s an important detail, because if we stop to honestly consider that, and appreciate who God is; His character and His nature, then we will be able to also value the gift of this spirit which He has given to us.
We also see, what this spirit both is and is not. We see that it is not a spirit of fear. It is not a spirit of timidity, dread or terror. It is not a spirit that causes you to be afraid; not afraid of the world nor afraid evil, nor afraid of God. God has not given us a spirit of fear.
What God has given to us is a spirit of power, love and a sound mind. And it’s interesting to note here that power is mentioned first, even before love and a sound mind! Many of us would not expect that! But power is actually essential to both love and a sound mind. If you have no power, if you are utterly power-less, than you will be in fear over all sorts of things, because you will never be secure and you will never truly be free. And if you’re not free in the truest sense, you will never truly be able to love.
So it’s imperative that we recognize that we have been given power; but notice how it is given – it is given in connection with the spirit – specifically the spirit which He has given to us.
It’s not power that comes by our strength, or effort, or ingenuity. But it is the spirit which He has given to us (the same with love and a sound mind as well).
So, how do we receive this spirit of power, love and a sound mind? The question is almost misleading, because the question implies that there is something which must be done; when in-fact it is precisely trying to do something that will lead people down the wrong path.
There are a great many people who are trying to earn the power and gifts of God. Sacrificing, struggling and striving, when the ultimate sacrifice has already been given: that is, Jesus Christ.
You might say, it can’t really be that simple!
But the scriptures say that it is indeed that simple! The idea that something more needs to happen or take place, has been a deadly lie even from the very beginning in the garden of Eden! Eve looked to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because she wanted to “be like God” and “be made wise” but that was the most foolish thing that she could’ve done, because she was already like God! She was made in the image and likeness of God to begin with! She was foolishly trying to become what she already was, and in the process she lost it all because she was distracted and deceived from seeing her own identity.
Millions of people are being deceived the exact same way using the exact same lie. The tactic and weapon of the enemy has not changed, and many of us are none the wiser for it. We are still falling into the same ditch that is wide-open and laid-bare for all to see – the problem is we are spiritually blind to it. But once the trap is exposed in the light of Jesus Christ, it can be safely bypassed.
The idea of working to receive the power of God is a strong and common one. We even see that Simon the Sorcerer tried to buy the Spirit and the power of God with money, but was sternly refused and potentially cursed in Acts chapter 8. In-fact, all throughout scripture, we see instance after instance of people continually trying to earn what God gives freely, and that drive to merit a free-gift is exactly what stops them from receiving.
Take as an example the Israelites during the Exodus. God brought them out of slavery and bondage, not because they were so good – but because God is good. Additionally, all throughout their journey to the promised land, they continually were complaining, and instead of just killing them for their continual griping, every-time they complained, God still provided for whatever their perceived lack was. On Israel’s part, it was doubt, complain, repeat. Yet on God’s part, it was Mercy, Provision, repeat. Quite amazing when we stop to think about it.
It wasn’t until that fateful moment in Exodus 19:8, when the people shifted from complaining, to actually becoming prideful and self-oriented, that the supply of mercy was cut. When they stated quite arrogantly that all that God commands we will perform. Or more accurately … we will produce [within ourselves].
It is a very prideful statement, one that shifts the focus from God and His mercy and free gifts, to a focus onto man’s performance and trying to earn blessings by it. Ana again, we have people deceived by the same lie trying to do the same thing today: God I don’t need your free gift – give me your law, and I will earn it by my own obedience. It’s a trap, from the very same deception that was back then, still in operation today.
As we prepare to end the study today, I want to show you one more thing from the words of Jesus in Matthew 10:8:
“Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give.”
This power mentioned here, is the same power that is in you today. And notice what Jesus said: freely you have received. That word “freely” in the original language, also means “undeservedly”.
You didn’t deserve it… you didn’t earn it, but God has given it to you, by His mercy and grace.
So then, one question remains: How then do we receive it?
Jesus answers that for us also. The word “received” there, in the original language means to take upon yourself.
In other words, recognize that this is part of who you are; this is your identity! You have been given this spirit of power by God, therefore, it is done. Believe it!
This is how you receive divine power. It has never changed from way back then to now.
This is the reality of Christ, what He has given to you and what you have today.
Believe it, receive it, and freely give it.