My power or God’s power?
The other day I was reading through the gospel of Luke and noticed a verse that seemed kind of odd. The content of the verse is not odd, but how it is placed between two different miracle stories is, at least at first glance.
Luke 5:16 (NIV) 16But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Jesus heals a man of leprosy, then moves on to the crowded house where the man is lowered through the roof and eventually healed. This one simple sentence randomly sits between these two stories, seemingly having nothing to do with either one. However, in verse 17, right before the man is lowered through the roof Luke makes this statement: “the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.”
There are two powerful lessons that I need to be constantly reminded of from these two simple statements by Luke.
1. It is all about God’s power.
If I am doing anything out of my own power, it won’t be as good or effective as it would be with God’s power. Even Jesus could not heal someone without God’s presence. I can’t accomplish anything in ministry without God’s presence either. Sure I can entertain teenagers on my own, but that is not what God has called me to do as a youth worker. In order for teenagers, or anyone for that matter, to be saved or grow as a Christian it has to be God’s power working in and through them. The truth is I cannot save anyone, only God can do that. My job is to present them with the truth, help them anyway I can to tap into God’s power, and then get out of the way.
2. The way to get God’s presence and the power that comes with it is through prayer and solitude.
The more I study the life of Jesus, the more I see how often Jesus went off by himself and prayed. The more popular he became throughout his ministry the more he did it. Typically the more successful I am with stuff the less I do it. Obviously this is not a good trend on my part, and also why it is easy to start relying on myself instead of God for success. If I neglect my own faith and spiritual health because of the busyness of ministry I am not being an example worthy of following, and I never want to be in that place.
These are two truths that I need to be reminded of on a regular basis. How about you? How are you doing at living these out?