by Isaac A. Olivarez
Many Christians today are walking around in a state of forgetfulness, as if we were left to conquer the rigors and unexpected challenges of this life—and ministry—alone. It’s like we have simply forgotten how much power we have been given access to through Christ. We have forgotten what we are capable of.
We know the stories, such as when Jesus turned water into wine. Or when He walked across the Sea of Galilee. Or the one where Jesus used spit to heal the blind man. I especially like reading about the numerous times when Jesus commanded demons to leave people alone and when He raised the dead. We know the stories, yet somehow it has become taboo for Christians to believe—I mean really believe—that we have access to this same power. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and one I am certainly familiar with. We try to excel in life and ministry under our own power, forgetting along the way that we are capable of nothing apart from the grace and power of Christ.
It’s easy to identify people who are caught in this trap. Dreams are rational, goals are minimal, and time and energy are consumed with survival rather than advancement. And if there is temporary success, egos begin to grow. But perhaps the most devastating repercussion of living a life apart from God’s power is that, unfortunately, along the way we render the many promises of God’s Word useless.
I was reading through the Gospel of John recently, and one particular verse hit me right between the eyes:
Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written. (John 21:25)
Do we realize what this means? After thinking about this verse for a while, here’s what I came up with:
1. We know God is powerful because we read about it in the Bible.
2. But we don’t know just how powerful God is, because John 21:25 tells us we currently have only an overview. We know only a fraction of how great and powerful God is.
3. We have access to this same power!
I quickly remembered reading John 14. Verse 12 is very clear:
“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”
The same works. Jesus gave us authority to do the same works He did when He walked on this earth. Do we understand what this means? In light of this promise from God’s Word, is it too far-fetched to believe we can see the sick healed and even the dead raised today, in our culture and context? Christians are called to walk this earth in power and authority. When we remember and believe that we have been called to display God’s power all over the earth, it will influence the way we conduct our life and ministry. After all, that’s what believe means to me: to be convinced of something and act accordingly.
To keep it all in perspective, Jesus included verse 13:
“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
You see, we don’t desire for God’s power to be displayed in our lives so we can accumulate blessings, wealth, or status. We do it because in the process of seeking His will, living according to that will, and reaping the rewards of seed sown in obedience, God’s name is glorified. He gets the credit—all of it. This means when we have opportunity, we defer and deflect the credit to Him.
That’s the journey I am on. I want to see the fullness of God’s power displayed in my life and ministry like it was in the time when Jesus walked on this earth. Not because I doubt this power still exists, but because I want to point to these miraculous works when I talk to people from all walks of life. I want to show them that the God of the Bible is the one true God.
But we’ll never have the platform to do that effectively unless we work hard to remember—remember who God is, what He has authorized us to do, and the power He has given us to do it. Then, we act accordingly.
Isaac A. Olivarez is an Inner-city missionary in Denver. For more information about Isaac’s mission, visit www.lovedenver.org. Twitter: @IsaacAOlivarez