The Rest of the StoryNovember 13, 2014
Spiritual Armor: SchemesDecember 3, 2014
“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spiritstried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. … [One day] the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” (Acts 19:13-16 Bold added)
Please don’t tell God doesn’t have a sense of humor. This would be a hilarious story if it didn’t hit so close to home. These men were trying to do good. They thought they had the formula for success: “ask in Jesus’ name.” But they didn’t actually know Jesus, so they did not have the Holy Spirit – so they had no real power … at all.
They were trying to do all this good in their own power. And that is a formula for burn-out, fatigue, failure, frustration and discouragement. Anyone who has served on church committees, community boards, or committees of any type, has at times “ran out the house naked and bleeding.”
You were not meant to run on your own power. You are uniquely and wonderfully designed to run on your effort, but fueled by Holy Spirit power.
But who is living this way? Sadly, only a few. This is why we see so many flame-outs and so much burn-out among the clergy. This is why you’re so tired all the time. This is why you feel frustrated and at times a bit overwhelmed. And this is why you’re so defeated in so many “personal habit areas.”
What will it take for you to live with this power? It will take trust: trusting that Jesus meant it when he said, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes over you.” (Acts 1:8) And trusting your Heavenly Father loves you perfectly. When we combine these two absolute truths the result is a combustible flame of power.
“Trust in + love for ignites the power of the Holy Spirit.”
When you trust in God’s perfect love, enough to actually surrender your will to him, you start the flame. Then, as you see the limits of your own power, and start to ask for, and actually trust in, the power of the Holy Spirit, this Holy Spirit power within you is ignited and fanned into an incredible flame. This is what God is saying through Paul, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God ….” (2 Timothy 1:6)
The Holy Spirit is a gift from your Heavenly Father. But you have to open it. Few do. It took me years to see this. We started 721 Ministries in 2004. By 2007 I was exhausted and burned out. I couldn’t do it anymore. After living discouraged and frustrated for several months, I heard God say clearly, “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3)
Yes! That was precisely my problem. I was trying to work in my own effort. It wasn’t my intention, but I was. And so are you.
In 2007 we were only doing two men’s lunches a week. And I was exhausted. Now we do three, a weekly radio show, this weekly Putting Green, overnight Advances and a host of other things. And I have more energy than ever. Holy Spirit energy, clarity and creativity.
The next time you think you must work extra, extrahard to fix it, or them, to control things so they work out your way, step back and talk to Jesus about it. Let him power you with energy, clarity and creativity: at work, or with your spouse, or parents, or children.
You can’t control things. You don’t have the power to do that, certainly not in the best way. But the Holy Spirit does. Every time. So relax, trust. Do your part, but as you do, also ask the Holy Spirit to fan into flame his power within you.
And then watch him go!