Summary: Where can we get the spiritual resources to deal effectively with the challenges of life?
(Note: the title of this message was borrowed from Rick Warren; however, the sermon itself is original)
This morning, we’re continuing our series on "How God Meets Your Deepest Needs," and today’s message is entitled, "Where To Get The Power You Need." Do you need power? Sure you do. So do I. And so do we all. Why? Because life is hard. I’m sure that’s no surprise for most of you, but life is difficult. It’s demanding. And every day is a new challenge. Sometimes what we need is the strength to persevere, the faith to keep trusting God in the midst of pain and sorrow. Sometimes what we need is wisdom; the ability to see clearly and choose the right path. Sometimes our need is for encouragement; at other times it’s for patience, or courage, or self-control. Every person here this morning needs power. And although I may not know your specific need, I do know this: that God’s power is sufficient to meet that need.
What I hope to do this morning is simple. First, I intend to show that God can and will supply the power you need. And I’m not talking about just the minimum that’s necessary to somehow, hopefully make it through the day. Not what you need just to survive, but to thrive and flourish. Because God’s purpose for our lives is not limited to preventing utter collapse. I know, there are days when you’d be happy to settle for that. But God isn’t satisfied with barely holding us back from the edge of despair. His goal is much more ambitious. He wants to make us into the kind of people who consistently experience joy, and peace, and contentment. He wants to bless us beyond anything we could have imagined; not only in the future, but in this life as well. He wants to give us abundant life.
"I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." – John 10:10
You may find that hard to believe. Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by life and you’re wondering if God even cares what happens to you. Nevertheless, it’s true. Just getting by isn’t God’s plan for your life. He has much more in store for you than that.
Let’s begin by looking at some key passages from the Old Testament.
"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him." – 2 Chronicles 16:9
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. . . [T]hose who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. . . So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." – Isaiah 40:29-31; 41:10
Are you feeling weak and weary this morning? Then come to the Lord and be renewed. This is an exciting passage. Because it tells us that not only is God Himself strong, and able to act on our behalf, but He promises to make us strong as well. His power is not just external, but internal. Through His Spirit, He is always with us; His power is available to us twenty-four hours a day.
Likewise, in the New Testament, Paul writes:
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!" – Ephesians 3:20-21
I can do everything through him who gives me strength." – Philippians 4:13
Do you believe that? If so, are you experiencing it? Are you experiencing God’s power as sufficient? Sufficient for faith? Sufficient for obedience? Sufficient for joy and hope? Sufficient for service and ministry? Or are you gasping for breath? If that’s the case, perhaps the problem is that you’re not consistently looking to God for the strength you need. Perhaps you’re looking to your own strength, or to someone or something else. And it’s easy to do. Because we are surrounded by alternatives to God’s power, all of them claiming to be just what we need; all contending for our trust and confidence.
Let’s take one example: anger. Anger can give us a feeling of power and strength. Sometimes, if we communicate anger in the right way, we can get other people to do what we want. We can punish them for hurting us, or offending us, or inconveniencing us. And that makes us feel powerful. What’s the problem, then? The problem is that anger is destructive. It doesn’t build up; it tears down. It corrodes relationships; it undermines trust and confidence; it hardens hearts. It creates fear and resentment and bitterness. But the most serious problem of all, for a Christian, is that it isn’t loving. Almost never does anger proceed out of a heartfelt love and concern for the other person. Usually, it’s just selfish. It’s purely the result of my feelings being hurt, or my goals being thwarted, or my desires being unfulfilled. It’s all about me, and what I want.