Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26 -31 NIV)
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.( John 15:15 NIV)
Real, Holy Spirit, Christian power is found and experienced in weakness. Followers of Jesus are called to embrace the weakness that he himself walked in while on the earth. While the world values charismatic personalities, money and prestige, God values humility. Charismatic personalities and materialism can actually be a hindrance to real spiritual power in the Church. God doesn’t use many of the rich and powerful of this world. He is most glorified when he takes the lowly, and uses them as his instruments of salvation, and to bring healing to the broken. The power to restore humanity can only be found in embracing the One who died in weakness, but was raised in power. And we can partake of that power.
To follow Jesus is to embrace a life of humility. Jesus did not come to start a political movement or to use an army to advance his kingdom. Christians should influence governments and society in a positive way, but real change in behavior can only come from changed hearts. And hearts are changed by believing the gospel and following Jesus. While earthly rulers stay in power by military force. Jesus depended on his Father, and was empowered by the Spirit, to fulfill his calling and ministry. As followers of “the Jesus way” we aren’t called to die for the sins of the world, but we are called to embrace the cross, and die to our own selfish way of life. This cross driven life helps others to see Jesus in us, and to bring others into his Kingdom. This is a life that has been filled by the Holy Spirit, and outwardly appears foolish to those who are perishing.
We must die to our selfish way of life to experience true power. The power that comes from above, is demonstrated by the love of God and neighbor. The power that comes from below is earthly natural and demonic and is built on pride and self-centeredness. The Holy Spirit enables us to reject illegitimate sinful ways of living, so that we can testify to the overcoming power of the living God. We can only overcome our sinful tendencies and do the work of God by acknowledging our total inability, and lack of power within ourselves. When sinful hindrances are removed, we can be used more effectively by God. Our appetite for sin decreases as we experience the unhindered presence of the Spirit, in our lives. When we fall short of God’s best for us (and we do) we confess and turn from our sins, and pursue Christ as our supreme treasure. A cross empower life is the key to the transformative power of God.