Nearer to Power
19 Nov 2012
Have you notice that occasionally we come into contact with another Christian who seems to radiate light and life. I’m not thinking of the kind of people who have tons of charisma and are comfortable talking to everyone in the room. No, these folks tend to be rather quiet but at the same time self assured. They never try to “work the room” because they give their attention completely to the particular person with whom they are currently relating.
Can you think of a person who when you are around them for a short period they seem to have the uncanny ability without any effort to cause you to sense that in some way or another God is near? It can be their words, but often it is another more ethereal sagacity by which we sense His nearness or pleasure. These people seem to be deeply spiritual and are always far from sanctimonious. Unfortunately for the furtherance of the Kingdom there are too few of these folks, at least in my travels, they seem to be few and far in-between.
They often seem to be like a softly burning fireplace on a cold winter day. They have a silent yet powerful capacity to draw others into intimate fellowship with little or no preamble. While often facing significant or severe trials they do not complain, in fact they are characteristically extremely optimistic.
How do these people get this way? It is surely not their superior education. It is not gender. While they seem to know the Bible it is not Bible knowledge alone that fashions their character. In conversations with a couple of these it is clear that they were not born this way. So how did they get this way, and more importantly how can we make progress in this desired direction?
From a biblical viewpoint the power and presence that is possessed by these individuals is without doubt supernatural. The means behind these wonderful characteristics is clearly divine. I am fully convinced that what makes these people different from the rest of us is God in them in some deeper way. The Holy Spirit’s indwelling for them seems to provide more power, keener perspectives, and a deeper peace.
My sample is far smaller than to be considered statistically sound, however I have noticed that these individuals, the few that are known, are normally spending more time in worship and praise and seeking God than most of the rest of us. For another perspective let’s examine Jesus when He was tasked by His Father to choose His twelve apostles.
Luke 6:12-13 (GW)
12 At that time Jesus went to a mountain to pray. He spent the whole night in prayer to God. 13 When it was day, he called his disciples. He chose twelve of them and called them apostles.
Jesus was preparing to select perhaps the most strategically significant groups in the eternal plan of God. His action: He prayed all night. How would we make these eternally significant selections with our modern methods? First there would no doubt be the resume reviews, by the interview committee. After boiling the group of three hundred applicants down to fifty, they would start the first round of interviews. In order to move rapidly they might suggest to simultaneously proceed with reference and background checks. This process would probably take five human resource experts nearly ten days to complete. The outcome might be questionable at best.
Jesus on the other hand spent one night in prayer. He got His direction from the Father who knows all and the following morning Jesus knew who were to be His apostles. They were exactly the right ones! We do not know exactly what Jesus ask His Father that night, but we do know that Jesus did everything that His Father instructed. We also know that Jesus did not do anything that His Father did not instruct.
Could it be that most of the time we have a dangerously defective inflated opinion of our own thinking? Could it be that much of the time we do not see the long range impact of our choices and prayers? In the same way that few could see the significance of Jesus’ night spent in prayer with His Father, which of us can see the loss to our work in the Kingdom of God when we fail to get direction through adequate prayer, particularly listening for our Father’s direction?
With your permission we would like to return to those unusual citizens we first examined. I believe it to be very probable that these individuals are for the most part singularly special specifically due to the quantity and quality of time they spend in the presence of their Father. Oh yes, a confession, the characteristics mentioned above are a compilation of traits seen in two real people and Jesus.
The people mentioned have sought to follow Jesus with all their hearts for many, many years. They routinely spend significant time in His presence. They are not perfect, and we do not want to lift up these people, we simply want to say it is possible, as seen from the lives of real people, to experience more of God if we pursue Him diligently and consistently over time. It is clear that while we may never make it to the correct conformation of Jesus on this earth it should clearly be our goal. To become more like Jesus the single best plan is to spend significant time in His presence and His word, seeking His face.
Acts 4:13 (AMP)
13 Now when they saw the boldness and unfettered eloquence of Peter and John and perceived that they were unlearned and untrained in the schools [common men with no educational advantages], they marveled; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
We know that the Holy Spirit was given by the time this scripture was written, but He chose to focus, through the author Luke, on the disciple’s relationship specifically the time they had spent with Jesus. Of course we are not proposing that the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit is not important. What we desire for you to consider is the potential for the activation and application of the Spirit’s power being magnified by the intensity and intimacy of your relationship with Jesus and our Father. Consider what the Disciples did prior to Pentecost.
Acts 1:12-14 (NASB95)
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away.
13 When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James.
14 These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.
I have personally come to the conclusion that in order to be used in a maximum way we must humble ourselves, and pray and seek His face and turn from our wicked ways. We must devote time, adequate time, seeking and worshiping God in our closets. In all that God does He prepares. Often we see in His word His instructions to His people to prepare themselves for the works He has planned.
Today do you desire to be growing more like Jesus? Are you spending adequate time preparing to hear His voice? What might you be missing? What could be the loss to you and your family, your church, and your community for failing to spend ample time in the presence of Jesus? What about the quality and impact of your prayers? What about the excellence, the consistency and the magnitude of the Spirit’s power and work in your life and ministry? As with all mankind since Adam and Eve, God continues to give us the choice. What will you seek?