April 16, 2018 • Life for Leaders
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms…
As we saw in last Thursday’s Life for Leaders devotion, God’s power is working FOR us. God’s power is on our side. That’s good news, to be sure. But it might cause us to wonder: What is God’s power like?
One answer to this question comes from the miracle of Easter. According to Ephesians 1:19-20, the power of God was at work when God “raised Christ from the dead.” The resurrection of Jesus was not, as some would argue, a poetic way to express the victory of goodness over evil or a myth dreamt up by the first Christians to dress Jesus up as divine. Rather, the resurrection was something that actually happened. It was experienced by the earliest followers of Jesus as a real, historical event. To be precise, they did not witness the actual resurrection of Jesus, but rather the resurrected Jesus who, much to their surprise, had conquered death. His tomb was empty, not because his body had been stolen, but because death could not constrain the risen life of Jesus.
Ephesians 1 says that the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us. This does not mean, however, that we can control this power. The power of God is not like the Force in Star Wars, something we can learn to manipulate. Rather, we have access to God’s power because God dwells in us and among us through the Holy Spirit. God determines how his power will be used in our lives. As we make ourselves available to God, the Spirit fills us, transforms us, and empowers us to participate in God’s work in the world. Whether we’re feeding the homeless, preaching sermons, guiding a startup, or teaching a class of high school seniors, the Spirit of God will be at work in us if we are open and willing.
Later in Ephesians, we discover a passage that encourages us to praise God for his power at work in us. If you’ll allow me to jump ahead for a moment, I’d like to close with this inspiring benediction from Ephesians 3:20-21: “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! Amen.”
Something to Think About:
When have you experienced God’s power at work in your life?
Have there been times in your life when God’s power seems to have deserted you?
In what areas of your life right now do you need God’s power?
Something to Do:
When you begin your workday, no matter what kind of work you’re doing, offer yourself to the Lord and ask him to empower you for the challenges of the day. Pay attention to times when you are especially aware of God’s power at work in you.
Gracious God, I do want to know your power, the power that raised Jesus from the dead. I do want to experience this power as it continues to transform my life and as you work through me to accomplish your purposes on earth.
Help me, Lord, to know you well so that I might know your power. Help me to live with confidence in your power. Empower me to do your bidding, to live for your glory in every part of life. Give me patience and peace when you choose not to do what I wish you would do. Help me to remain faithful and available. To you be all the glory! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
Sermon on John 21:1-14
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.
This is very helpful, thank you. In our church we have been hearing sermons on 2 Corinthians. In chapter 12, verse 9, the Lord says to the apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul says next, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
This is a paradox! Christian power comes through weakness! In chapter 10, verse 4 the apostle Paul says, “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” Christians should stand out in the way they don’t resort to brute force or anger but, instead, respond in love to difficult people and circumstances. Think of the Lord Jesus going all they way to the cross for us!
May the Lord help us to seek His power every day!