Where’s the Power?
1 Cor. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. 20 For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power. 21 What would you prefer? Am I to come to you with a stick, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?
A loving leader, hoping to visit his disciples again was pointing out what was of greatest importance. Living a Spirit-filled, God-graced, Christian life meant that lives would be transformed. Being a part of the community of faith had to be more than just a bunch of talk. Some had the gift of gab and were using it to their own benefit.
Eloquence of speech could be used to gather the crowds and there were a number of speakers who had become quite popular. Unfortunately, for all of their personal giftedness and skills, there was no power present in their ministry — no kingdom power. There is a difference between the power of personal persuasion or speech, and the movement of God’s Holy Spirit. Paul was concerned that too many in the church had become enamored by the former. There was no real power present and he struggled with helping them understand their need to refocus. Correction was seen as unpleasant discipline, and yet it came from Paul’s heart of love for his people. He wanted to draw them away from the distraction of fine talk and into the depths of a relationship with Christ in which the Spirit’s kingdom power would be exhibited.
On any given day we can flip the channels on our television and find a popular evangelist who seems able to fill the pews and their coffers by those who are enticed by their words and popularity. We are encouraged to be discerning. Popularity because of an ability to speak well is not an indicator of the presence of the power of the kingdom.
Kingdom power is found not in words, but in the daily lives of those who are willing to humble themselves before the Lord and allow him to do the leading and the guiding. It is in this circumstance that God gets the glory — and all the credit for what is happening in and through someone’s ministry. When the kingdom is at work, power will be evident. This will be evident in God’s kingdom activity in the world seen in transformation.
Lovingly Paul was chiding the Corinthians, and I believe he is chiding us today as well. His loving spirit is reaching out to his disciples though the centuries and encouraging us to move beyond talk. Bible studies and small groups are nice things, but if they only result in talking about spiritual things and there is no action, then the kingdom is not being revealed.
Where is the power?
Lord, please help me to keep my focus on you and may your kingdom power be revealed in my daily life. Amen.