I was at a conference a couple of years ago and I recall the speaker saying something that still resonates in my spirit. He said, “The kingdom of God isn’t about our strongest asset. It’s about our weakest.” I wouldn’t say this is something new to me, but it is something I need to remind myself of regularly. It’s not about my strengths and my talents and what I can do for God through them. It’s about what God can do in and through me in what I can’t possibly do on my own. For example…spiritual gifts inventories/tests are really a strength/personality assessment. What we usually conclude from them is that our Spiritual Gifts are whatever we are good at. It’s like a false positive. It may or may not be a Spiritual Gift. It may just be a talent.
In life it is so easy to rely on our strengths. Our abilities. Our talents. If our worship sounds good and we are feeling the music, we can potentially conclude that we’ve encountered God. But it’s not just about what we can offer God in worship. It’s also about Him moving in our weakness, our inability, to bring moments of greatness and encounter with Him that go beyond anything we could ever offer on our own. Birds quickly learn that they can fly higher by catching the currents of the wind rather than flapping their wings faster. There is a partnership that takes place in the Spirit-filled life that requires us to rely less on own ability and more on God. It’s not that our talents and abilities aren’t useful, but he struggle is in trusting God. The wind of His Spirit can take us places and do things through us that we’ve never dreamt possible. Sometimes the fear of where He might take us is enough to keep us from stepping out.
One of the pastor’s I worked with loved the phrase, “you’ve gotta do what you can’t!” When I do the things I don’t have the talent for, or even the God-given ability to do, I feel empowered! That’s why I love the healing ministry. I can’t do that. None of it is me. By the grace of God, I can lay my hand on a sick person, His Spirit touches down on human flesh and bam! The Kingdom of God comes in power through my weakness. That’s where grace comes in. I don’t deserve to be trusted with that kind of power, but through God’s great mercy and love He chooses to work through my weakness to make His name known in the earth.
Your weakness is a ticking Kingdom time bomb just waiting to go off. What are you waiting for? Just pull the pin already and get ready for the aftermath. Do what you can’t!
SCRIPTURE: Acts 5:12-17
12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. 14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
17 Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy.
This passage takes place following the death of Ananias and Sapphira…verse 11 says, “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” I love the irony in these verses…first we are told that “no one else dared join them” and then we are told, “nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number”. Many people were so gripped with fear that they wanted nothing to do with these crazy Jesus followers. If you messed up, you could die! But at the same time, others were streaming into “the faith” because the signs and wonders were so obvious that God was in the middle of this.
The death of Ananias and Saphira was a catalyst to the spreading of the gospel and bringing the fear of God. Suddenly things got out of control (in a good way)! The disciples ministry took on a new dimension. They had seen people line up to receive healing from Jesus, but all of a sudden people are lining up the sick on the streets in hopes of Peter’s shadow possibly falling on them, desperate for healing. Not one person left sick. All of them were healed. The disciples experienced the kind of anointing that Jesus operated in through the Spirit seeing a 100% healing success rate. Boldness comes like a rushing river when you are seeing those kinds of results! I think these events really propelled the apostles into a new level of anointing and ministry.
When God begins to use you in ways that He seemingly is not using others, jealousy always comes to the surface. The high priest and his associates respond to the apostles with jealousy and put them in jail! When God begins to use you in ways that affect others around you, there are always people who will rise up against you in jealousy. It will manifest itself in many different ways. I’ll never forget a missions trip to Ukraine where we were doing tent meetings filled with teenagers. Every night the altars were filled with teens coming to the Lord. However, at the entrance to the tent were leaders from the Orthodox Church handing little pamphlets and warning people coming in that this was a cult and to have nothing to do with it. What was their motivation? Some would say it was “genuine” concern for these kids, but the truth is that they were dealing with jealousy. When we are quick to condemn others, we have to ask ourselves…where is this coming from? If we allow God to bring the answer, we will often find that it is rooted in jealousy.
Holy Spirit thank-you for your strength and might to do miracles. Thank-you for your supernatural strength which courses through my veins as I live in oneness with You. May I see more and more miracles as you pour out your compassion on people I come into contact with each day. Help me to be bold in the face of opposition and to remember that they are operating out of selfishness and jealousy. They still need Your love! Help me to guard my heart from jealousy lest I hurt my brother or sister and find myself in opposition to what You are doing. May Your will be done in me today. Amen.
One of the most amazing stories in the Bible is the story of the man who is possessed by a “legion” of demons and lives in the tombs. He is so wild that they had his hands and feet shackled up in order to keep him under control but because of the demonic strength he breaks out of them. He’s got so many demons and so much strength that nobody wants to mess with him anymore. Not the kind of guy you would want to run into in a darkened alley, nevermind in broad daylight. So…Jesus decides to talk to the guy.
Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area. Mark 5:9-10.
Jesus runs into this guy and has compassion on him and decides to release him from his inner demonic prison. He casts out the hoard of demons and sends them into a herd of about 2000 pigs. The demons then proceed to ride piggyback down a hill and drown themselves in the lake. Totally absurd! The pigs never even saw it coming. Everybody is freaking out and completely dumbfounded, people are coming out of the surrounding cities to see what has happened. They know they are witnessing a miracle because they can see the previously possessed man sitting there in his right mind at Jesus feet.
But then something happens…fear.
“Later, a great many people from the Gerasene countryside got together and asked Jesus to leave—too much change, too fast, and they were scared. So Jesus got back in the boat and set off.” Luke 8:37 (The Message)
Ever found yourself in their shoes. God does something amazing, beyond your ability to understand or explain it and you celebrate in amazement only to find yourself questioning if it was “biblical” a few hours later.
One of the best examples I can think of would be the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. I would dare to say that anyone who’s experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit has wondered if what they experienced was really God. Thoughts like, “Did I just make up that mumbo jumbo?” or “That didn’t even sound like a real language to me” bring doubt to the validity of the experience. Often when we try to understand something that is beyond our capability to understand, fear ends crippling the freedom and joy we’ve encountered. Fear causes us to push back. What we fail to realize is that if the experience is really from God, it’s like pushing against a massive brick wall. Fear causes us to exert useless energy and in the end we’ve only managed to push ourselves away and “protect” ourselves from something we’ve wrongly labeled “dangerous goods”. We end up missing out on the blessing.
Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region. Mark 5:17
It’s probably a good thing to be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it. Jesus got in a boat and left.
His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. We have to realize that in following Jesus we need to learn to follow from our heart or our spirit man instead of our minds. Jesus wants to do new and fresh things in your life that may just baffle your mind. That doesn’t mean your mind isn’t valuable in the journey, but sometimes your heart can take you places your head never can (Bill Johnson). If you can keep your heart open to what God is doing and refuse to listen to fear, the blessings of Jesus presence and workings in your life will abound.