This article is a bit of a walkabout. It reminds me of a tourist group out for a sight-seeing adventure. Not every sight will be for everyone, but each one will find something here to encourage, edify and equip them for the good work we have all been created to walk in (Ephesians 2:10).

Every Jesus follower is responsible to be (or become) a faithful steward of God’s mysteries (1Corinthians 4:1-2). So why do we so often play the mystery card to avoid our responsibility as stewards? For example, the fact that we have been made one in Christ Jesus is a mystery (Galatians 3:28). We would rather keep it that way than commit to the hard work of agreeing with Jesus’s prayer for the manifestation of that reality (John 17:23). And another: The Bible suggests that church discipline is necessary for strong healthy fellowships. Rather than search out its proper application, most church leaders treat it as a mystery – avoiding it altogether for fear of running off the wrong people.

God’s expects us to steward His mysteries for the advancement of His kingdom. Playing the mystery card for our own motives (e.g., to avoid difficult responsibilities, or excuse error in our teaching) is rebellion; many times unintended, but nevertheless adversarial to the purposes of God.

We must search out the mysteries of God. To the best of our ability? Yes, and no. With the help of others? Again, yes and no. Under the anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit? Yes and yes.

With the anointing and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we search out the mysteries of God with our whole heart and the help of others – the purpose of our search being His glory and the advancement of His kingdom.

Let’s practice our searching with Ephesians 6:10:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

Paul is encouraging us to be strong in two distinct ways. We are to be strong in the Lord, and we are to be strong in the power of His might. In my humble opinion, this is the most power-filled verse in the entire Bible. Three of God’s “power” words are included:

  1. Be strong (endynamoō): The root is dynamis – the explosive power of God.
  2. Power (kratos): The dominion of God – the power of His authority to reign.
  3. Might (ischys): The ability and force of God – to accomplish what He intends.

This is what Paul is talking about when he goes on to encourage us to put on the whole armor of God. This is what it takes to stand against the wiles of the devil. Get your head around that!

As leaders in the Workplace – that includes all segments (business, religion, education, government, etc.) – we are responsible for leading others into this kind of radical life. Note carefully: This is the normal Christian life!

In the past, I have shared a parable to try and explain the difference between being strong in the Lord and being strong in the power of His might.

Being strong in the Lord is akin to being a soldier on the front lines, armed to the teeth with the strength God has given in Jesus Christ. Such a warrior is a mighty man (or woman, or child) of God. To be strong in the power of His might is something quite different. It is like placing a call to command headquarters requesting a bombardment of the enemy lines.

This explanation sounds good; and I believe it is not entirely wrong. However, this parable contains a subtle and dangerous flaw – a flaw in thinking, driven by an independence spirit, that has permeated much of the church.

This parable suggests that we are in control and calling the shots in our battles. This is not the way God’s kingdom works. We do not carry around the Lord like a weapon to be used at our discretion. Similarly, we do not call on Command to exercise their might at our volition. This line of thinking introduces a dangerous misunderstanding.

Our mistake is that we want God to send revival on our terms. We want to get the power of God into our hands, to call it to us that it may work for us in promoting and furthering our kind of Christianity. The Size of the Soul; A. W. Tozer

The Lord is not the weapon we wield. He is not our workmanship. We are commanded to reckon ourselves as His weapons of righteousness (Romans 6:13). To think otherwise is to manufacture a god of our own creation – no different than the worthless idols of Jeremiah 10:2-5.

When we replace God with a god of our creation, we put ourselves outside of the true God’s channel of authority. Ironically and tragically, because His power flows down the channel of His authority, we lose His power in our lives and ministry. We are left to draw on the powers of our flesh, the world and Satan.

Furthermore, when we are outside God’s channel of authority, our communication with Him is interrupted. This is Satan’s primary objective – to cut us off from the word of God. Why? Because the grace of God’s power is appropriated by the faith that comes from our hearing His word (Romans 10:17). Again, we are cut off from the strength of the Lord and the power of His might.

At this point, some will say that I am threatening supernatural experience with the truth, that “the fruit of miracles will prove our knowledge of God and our faith in Him.” I am reminded of Matthew 7:22-23:

Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”

It is not for me to judge those that read this blog. This is simply a warning: That it is possible to perform great miracles and not be known by Jesus Christ. I am encouraging you to judge yourself, lest you be judged.

We must worship Him in spirit and in truth. We must become a word and power church. Regrettably, we have allowed our leanings to divide us. This is a subject that we must unite on. I need more power in my life and ministry. That doesn’t mean I have to give up my passion for His word. Let’s worship Him in both spirit and truth.

Okay, so let’s go back to Ephesians 6:10: “Be strong in the Lord…” is the polar opposite of being strong in ourselves (or the world). God does not need, nor desire, to strengthen us in this way.

He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
Psalm 147:10

Thus says the Lord:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;

But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.
Jeremiah 9:23-24

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21

…for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

God working in us “both to will and to do for His good pleasure” is equivalent to our being strong “in the power of His (Jesus’) might”. Think about that for a moment. There is a mystery here.

Jesus only did what the Father was doing, and He only did the Father’s will (John 5:30). As our example, He then sends us as the Father sent Him (John 20:21). This is the key to our confidence in the good work we have been called to walk in – being vessels, instruments and weapons fully submitted to the Father’s will and work.

Now, let me ask you: As an instrument of God’s will and work, are you a cordless instrument – able to disconnect from the power source to remotely accomplish something? Or, are you dependent on being continuously plugged in?

The problem with cordless instruments is twofold. First, their power is limited by size and time. A cordless battery can only hold so much power. The time it is being charged (two hours on Sunday?) determines how long it can operate effectively. Secondly, cordless batteries eventually lose the ability to hold a charge. They wear out over time.

In contrast, instruments that are always connected to the power source are always ready and powered up for good work. Furthermore, wall plugs do not have switches. As God’s instruments of righteousness, neither should we. In contrast, we should be like those simple soldering irons we used as kids – the ones that get hot and stay hot – when they are plugged in.

The way we think about the kingdom of God – including His ways for His work there – is extremely important. Our minds are crafty tricksters, deserving our suspicion. The renewing of our minds transforms us into the image of the Lord’s glory and counteracts our conformance to the world’s systems and ways.

Therefore, in closing, let me encourage you to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might – for the Father’s glory and kingdom. Here are a few steps we can take:

  1. Practice God’s presence. This is best learned during our quiet times with Him each morning, as we “plug into” His Spirit and word.
  2. If necessary, change the way we are thinking. Thinking differently is the beginning of repentance and our engagement with the Holy Spirit for the renewal of our minds.
  3. Ask for forgiveness in areas where we have been presumptuous and/or rebellious.
  4. We must come to know our enemies. That should not be hard for those that will courageously and objectively face them: our flesh, the world and Satan’s vast army (Ephesians 6:11-12).
  5. Having done that, we will become eager to put on truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation and the word (vv. 14-17).
  6. We must (re)learn how the battle is fought. Prayer is not a part of our armor. It is the way – God’s way – for putting the armor to good use (v. 18). It is the way we become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
  7. As we are praying, let us remember to pray for others and their mission (vv. 18-19), being content with our own circumstances (v. 20).

I appreciate you taking this walkabout with me. Please share this with others in your spheres of influence; and share any thoughts you have in the comment section. Both actions will encourage others and ensure we are advancing the kingdom together.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

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