Why does it seem that so often we are powerless to accomplish great things for God? I believe it is because there are several barriers that keep us from experiencing God’s power through the Holy Spirit. Think about it for a moment, what in your life keeps you from being empowered by the Holy Spirit? I believe most barriers fall under one of four categories: sin, reliance on self, head knowledge of God’s Word that does not result in heart knowledge, and failure to surrender to God’s will.
It is important to understand sin and to deal with it. The Bible tells us that God created humans perfect and in his image: “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). God gave Adam and Eve meaningful work to do and told them the only thing they couldn’t do was eat the fruit of one tree, but they decided to take matters into their own hands and, as a result, sin came into the world. You can read all this in Genesis 2 and 3; Adam and Eve’s choice to do things their own way brought sin into our lives as well as their own.
Because of Adam and Eve, all of us have a sinful nature, and it affects every part of us. King Solomon wrote: “Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:20, NIV).
There is only one person in the history of the world who did not have a sin nature: Jesus Christ. He was the “holy, righteous one ” (Acts 3:14) who “never sinned” (2 Corinthians 5:21). This allowed Jesus to be sacrificed on the cross as our perfect substitute, “the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (1 Peter 1:19). It is through Christ that we are born again and begin a new life in him: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The whole idea of sin is very unpopular these days, even in some churches. But the reason Jesus came into the world was to save us from our sins!
Sin is alive and well and we must honestly own it and confess it. We cannot expect to experience God’s power in our lives when we choose to sin because sin always short-circuits the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit takes up residence in each believer and supplies the power we need to overcome the pull of the sin nature within us. “Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them.” (1 John 3:9). Romans 6 tells us, “Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace” (v. 14).
We need to confess our sin to God so our relationship with him can be restored immediately. “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9).
It is through the confession of our sin that we are telling God that we want to have our relationship with him restored, and it is then, that the Holy Spirit will empower us to do God’s work. Be honest with yourself! Are you stuck in a painful past? God’s healing is available to you! Are you stuck in a painful present? God’s power is available to you! Get sin out of the way! Take time today to confess your sin to God and begin to experience the Holy Spirit’s power in a new way.
Reliance on Self
Years ago, I was in a group experience where we were challenged to have a three-minute conversation without anyone using the word “me, my, or I” … we couldn’t do it! Unfortunately, each one of us has an innate desire to think about ourselves.
It takes Son Power to remove the control of self. This power becomes operative in our lives when we ask the Holy Spirit, by faith, to take control of how we think, feel, and act.
We must learn to trust in the power of God alone to empower us and deliver us. Dying to self is painful, but God has promised that he will manifest himself in us. In Proverbs we read these words, “For whoever finds me finds life and receives favor from the Lord” (8:35).
If we are to find favor with God and experience the Son-powered life, we must die to self along the pathway of life: self-reliance, self-trust, self-sufficiency, independence. All qualities the “world” values and encourages! Jesus said:
I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in
the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce
many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.
Those who love their life in this world will lose it.
Those who care nothing for their life in this world will
keep it for eternity.
In order for a grain of wheat to multiply it must die. Our time, talent, treasure, and desire must be given up totally to God to be used for his world and his glory. If we just spend it on pleasuring ourselves, then we are missing the best that God has for us. Only when we die to self will God be able to multiply all that we are and all that we have.
Head Knowledge of God’s Word that Does Not Result in Heart Knowledge
Many people make the mistake of thinking that knowledge is enough to experience the presence and power of God. However, such a belief will short-circuit the Son Power in your life.
Is the Word of God important to you? Are you spending time regularly reading it, memorizing it, and putting it into practice? In order to have Son Power operative in our lives, we must commit ourselves to the study of God’s Word. Our knowledge must move from our head to our heart in the form of conviction that impacts our faith and behavior. Failure to do so will certainly make our lives barren and unproductive. However, when we immerse ourselves in the God’s Word we position ourselves to hear God’s voice.
We must hear the Word of God, we must accept the Word of God, and we must live the Word of God. It is only through this process that we will experience Son Power.
Scripture is either true or it’s not … it will either make a difference or it will not. What scriptures are important to you? What you learn from God’s Word about who he is, about his will, about his character, and about how he works will greatly affect how you experience the Holy Spirit in your life. You must take all that you have learned from God’s Word and apply it to your life circumstances!
Failure to Surrender to God’s Will
A refusal to surrender to God’s will is what is often referred to as being a “carnal” Christian, one who is still influenced a great deal by the world and its enticements. This principle comes from the King James version of 1 Corinthians 3:1: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” The NIV puts it this way, “people who are still worldly.” A carnal Christian is someone who has accepted the Good News of Jesus Christ, but does not want to be transformed by it.
To become a Son-powered person, it takes an affirmative act of the will to choose to have the Holy Spirit control how we think, feel, and act. We shut off his power when we refuse to let him do so. It takes surrender of self.
In order to have Christ living in us we must allow Jesus Christ to take control of us. We must submit to him. Our life revolves around the Son. He lives in us. He is the source of the renewable Son-powered life. He must increase and we must decrease. The power of the Son is unlimited, and he can overcome the mountain of self in our lives when we allow him do so.