Summary: Spiritual Powerlessness: symptoms, cause, and cure
How do you feel about coming to church? Does this describe you:
I like meeting my friends and talking with them
I like the music, I like the beat
When we pray or talk about the Bible, it’s
I don’t connect,
Puts me to sleep.
Why is this? We can try to blame:
Tough day at school
Brothers and sisters
The teacher/preacher in church is a turkey.
HOWEVER, before blaming others Jesus says, look at yourself first. First take the beam out of your own eye (Mt. 7:3-5)
AND if you can’t connect with prayer or the Bible in Sunday church OR at Youth Meeting OR by yourself with just you and the Lord, then the problem is YOU – guaranteed.
So what’s wrong? Do you just need to push yourself harder? Do you need more self-discipline? Do you need to make commitments and promises to God to pray and read the Bible every day? Although some Christians may recommend this, this is NOT the answer. The power to live the Christian life comes from God, NOT from my self-effort (2 Peter 1:3, 2 Tim. 1:7, Col. 1:10-11, Phil. 3:10, Eph. 1:19-20, 3:20-21, 2 Cor. 4:7, Romans 15:13). If your power outlet is dead, you can’t make your T.V. work by pushing the plug in harder! You need to find out why the power is off, and figure out how to get it turned back on.
So the problem is power failure. What causes power failure? The Bible gives many examples: I will talk about three.
(A) The first example involves Joshua. Everyone knows “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho” – it was a tremendous victory, the Israelites completely demolished the enemy. But after Jericho came Ai, a speck of a town compared to the great city Jericho. At Ai, the Israelites got their pants beat off. Why? Because at Jericho JUST ONE soldier (Achan) in an army of 600,000+ took something he wasn’t supposed to. He saw something someone else had, he wanted it, and he took it.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting things like other people have. We all tend to value things that others value. However, in Achan’s case, this was something which God had forbidden. From this example we can learn
(1) Just one offender out of that whole huge army was enough to totally cut off God’s power. It didn’t take a ‘big’ thing;
(2) Achan went wrong because he was more concerned with what others had than with what God wanted.
(B) The second example is Goliath versus the Saul and the Israelites. The Israelites were powerless against Goliath (at least, until David came along). Why?
King Saul was not God’s idea, but the Israelites. They wanted aking because other nations had one. They got what they want – but the eventual results was, they lost the power of God. Since the Israelites wanted to do things the way other people did, they got a king who, like them, was a people-pleaser rather than a God- pleaser. For this reason, the power of God departed from Saul. From this example we can learn:
(1) “Others have it, why can’t I?” is a dangerous way of thinking, and easily leads to error.
(2) You cannot live your life by the way others live their lives. You can’t spend your life looking from side to side. If you want to live a godly life, you need to look up to Him, rather than to those around you.
(3) God speaks individually to individual people. There are things which He says are OK for others to have, but they are not OK for you to have.
(4) Some people on the one hand want to hear from God, but on the other hand are afraid He’s going to tell them they can’t have something they want. You can’t have it both ways. If you want to hear from God, you have to be willing to accept when He tells you to give up something. If you are not willing, then you will stop hearing from Him.
(5) If you persist in wanting something which God has warned you against, then He will let you get it. But you can kiss goodbye to God’s presence and power in your life.
(C) The third example is Solomon, the wisest and richest man in history. But he became a depressed and world-weary cynic; and soon after his death his kingdom in half, its power was broken, and all his accumulated riches were ripped off by the Egyptians. What went wrong? Riches didn’t make him lose his power. Neither did his wisdom and scientific knowledge. He messed up by taking many wives from other nations. He wanted status in the eyes of others. He said to himself, “They have it, so I want it to.” And because he let this one thing into his life, all the good things which God had given him were corrupted. Solomon’s beautiful palace was filled with idolaters. All his great knowledge merely weighed him down (Ecc. 12:12). He became so wrapped up in his accomplishments that he drove his people to the breaking point, so eventually they rebelled (2 Chr. 10). From this we can learn