“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto ME…” (Acts 1:8)
“Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth;” (Psalm 108:5)
There’s little or nothing that a man can do of himself if it be not given him from above. Many would wish to have power to do wonders and shake the earth. They would wish to go right into a nation or community given to worship of demons or belief in false religion, and with one powerful sermon convert that whole nation with everyone shedding tears profusely in repentance. We would wish to stand before a temple of worship of demons and with our hand stretched to heaven, pray one prayer in the name of Jesus and the whole temple come crumbling down with demons fleeing out of it to the conversion of all those who witness it or hear about it (as an unverifiable story tells us that apostle John did in Ephesus). We all would wish to do such great things, but we may not be willing to pay the price for it. Some probably have read about Martin Luther, John Wesley, Cyril and Methodius (the great Scandinavian missionaries), and others, and seen the great things they did and how they are held in such honour, and would wish to do great works for God. Sometimes it is for the sake of glory that people wish to do great things for God, but at all times we must do things for his own glory alone. This should be done out of true sincere love for him.
There’s no way that a man can move with such influence for God without power given him from above. It is how to get such power that I wish to talk about in this article.
The price for power is simple. It comes by having a right focus and mindset. We must have motives which is always to seek what is to the glory of God. Refusal to seek ours at any cost. If only we can do this, we shall have the power of God working so mightily in us.
In the first of the main texts of this article, Jesus before his ascension said to his disciples, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto ME…” (Acts 1:8). Please note my emphasis on “me.” Now this appears to be very funny. It seems as if Jesus is saying something like, “I will give you all the money you need to buy any exotic spice, ingredients, etc. as much as you need to prepare a sumptuous meal, but the sumptuous meal is for me, me, and me alone. That would be mean wouldn’t it? But Jesus was not in any way being mean if truly we know how this is for our benefit. However, he’s pointing to us that if we are to receive power, it must be to his glory alone and none else’s. It is by having this mindset that God alone must be glorified that we can receive power.
In the second text, the psalmist wrote, “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth;” (Psalm 108:5). This is the mindset we must have. God must be above all. We therefore must seek nothing apart from God’s glory. For if he’s lifted up above all things else in our lives, then there must also be nothing beside him. For it is written, “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God. (1 Samuel 2:2). So there should be nothing beside God in our lives. Nothing apart from him. Nothing of equal importance to him. Nothing should exist at all in our lives except under him, that is for his glory alone. This is the mindset we need to receive power from God.
Let us not deceive ourselves in trying to be dubious. Dubious in the sense that when we think or claim to be seeking his glory, we are somehow still seeking our own glory. This often happens in the guise of giving testimonies. Where we say God has done mightily but beside the testimony of his mighty works, we also speak of our own “incredible” works too. Probably something we claim that provoked him to action.
In trying to talk about sincerity in living for the glory of God alone, I’ll refer to two characters as examples of these. Two incredible great men of power. One from the Old Testament, and the other from the New.
“(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” (Numbers 12:3)
First we shall look at the man Moses. The manifestation of God’s power through Moses is one that is most obvious to all the world including outside the Christian circle. As a matter of fact we could consider him the chief of the Old Testament prophets and not be wrong, for we can draw this conclusion on the basis of the testimony of no lesser a one than God himself. For it is written, “And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:6 – 8). He also enjoyed the manifestation of God’s presence like no other. It is written, “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend…” (Exodus 33:11).
So, why did God move so mightily in him and by him? Why did God walk so closely with him? Why did God speak to him mouth to mouth? It is simply explained in the verse; Numbers 12:3. Meekness. That’s all. His incredible meekness resulted in the great manifestation of Power in him and through him.
We know little in scriptures about why the Bible called him meek. We couldn’t easily judge him to be meek based on what we read of his actions recorded in scriptures had not the Bible clearly bestowed such praise on him. However, when I read the Book of Jasher, I was surprised at how many glorious things that Moses omitted about himself in his own writing. You won’t believe it.
Now I would take the pains to warn you that I refer to the book of Jasher only because the Bible itself refers to it in two portions, that is in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. I do not wish that other books of creation or historical books of that kind should be read. Many of them are false and demonic. Please avoid them. I however encourage Christians to read the book of Jasher. You’d find it very useful.
When Moses ran away from Egypt and lived in the wilderness of Median, from his record, you’d think he just sat there for forty whole years fondling his wife and tending sheep. Very laughable to think of. But within that forty years he did wondrously and even reigned as a king. I don’t want to write an article with a scary length, so you go read it for yourself in the Book Of Jasher. So amazing. But he remained absolutely silent on this in his own record that you’d think it never happened, had you not read it in the record of another. Such meekness is incredible and when we read the Bible says, “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” (Numbers 12:3), we now understand better what it means. And seeing that by him God did incredible miracles and that the Bible clearly associates his closeness to God with his meekness, we now see that the price of the power given him was meekness. It is by that quality of being able to seek the glory of God alone so as to forfeit all your own glory for his sake. The more you have this quality the more power you shall receive.
We shall now proceed to the New Testament to look at our second case study.
“(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)” (Galatians 2:8)
It is not that I wish to exalt one apostle over another, but just for the purpose of this study I wish to use Peter as a case study. Indeed we mere men with the limitation of our blindness lack the ability to judge on certain matters. So it is futile to start judging one person over another, whether they be apostles, revivalists, etc. We just can’t be rational to judge any with our human limitations. The very verse above tells us that God worked in Paul the way he worked in Peter. So let it not make any exalt one apostle over another or judge in any way similar to that. That aside, let’s see what we can learn from Peter for whatever we see in him can also be seen in others who manifested the power of God.
Peter was a man of power. We can’t read anywhere in scriptures that people really contended with Peter. He was a man of simplistic power so much that when he speaks, what always follows is submission.
On the day of Pentecost in the second chapter of the book of Acts, after people mocked the disciples who were speaking with new tongues, Peter and others rose up to address the crowd and what followed, without any opposition or gainsaying, the people simply said, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Absolute submission.
In the fourth chapter if Acts, when Peter and the other apostles were questioned about why they were preaching the Gospel, he responded with such boldness that they marvelled and didn’t know what to say in opposition to that.
In the fifteenth chapter of Acts, when men rose up to start teaching that except people get circumcised, they cannot be saved. Paul and Barnabas argued with them to no avail. They came all the way to Jerusalem and right there the argument went on and on. But as soon as Peter spoke, we read in the twelfth verse, “Then all the multitude kept silence…”
When I considered these things, I got to wonder, why was it so? And I got to realise that there was nothing responsible for such effectiveness than power. The same power at work when he raised the dead, the same power at work when he healed the lame, the same power at work when his shadow cured the sick was the same power at work when he spoke. Very effective were his words. What we see in Peter was sheer Power. Not eloquence, not charisma, not vibrancy nor anything of human making. He was not formally educated, he was just a fisherman, yet he was so effective in service because of power alone. The power given him from above.
Never expect to see any form of evangelical transformation without power. Never think that eloquence, charisma, fervency, etc. can achieve anything for you. If you want result, you need power. Not the futile power you find around, but that which comes from above. With eloquence, you may preach to an atheist and instead of becoming a Christian, he only becomes an agnostic. With charisma, you may preach to an undevoted pseudo-religious man and instead of becoming a Christian, he becomes a fanatic. You may even preach with everything and get someone to profess Christ, yet remains in his sins. But true evangelical transformation can only be by the power from above, that power that at the simplistic speaking of Peter, the man of power, three thousand souls got converted in one occasion (Acts 2:41), five thousand men (excluding women and children) in another (Acts 4:4), and so on.
The deeds of Peter always easily yielded results because of power alone. Not eloquence, not high learning, not anything, just power. But how or why did he get this power? Let’s see.
The Gospel of Mark was Peter’s account written by Mark. Yet I was surprised at the way the Gospel of Mark went. Everything that pertains to Peter’s praise was amazingly omitted. There are a number of ways in which Mark completely skips the things that seem to be of Peter’s praise but I’ll make reference to two.
When you contrast Mark 6:47-56 and Matthew 14:23-32 which is a record of how Jesus came to his disciples by night walking on the water. When they got scared, Jesus called out to them in verse 50 saying, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” the Gospel of Mark immediately went on to say in verse 51, “And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.”
The Gospel of Matthew however narrated how Peter walked on water the way that Jesus himself did and no other apostle did. This was a wonderful thing for him to emphasise to his own glory, but the meek man omitted it completely so much that if you didn’t read it in the Gospel of Matthew, you won’t ever guess that it happened. He didn’t see any excuse for making any reference to his walking on water. His glory was just not his business. He was concerned about talking about the wonders of Jesus and that was all.
Next when you contrast Mark 8:27-30 and Matthew 16:13-19, which both speaks of Jesus asking who people say he is. Peter responded “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mark omitted “the Son of the living God.”) The Gospel of Mark (Peter’s account) stopped there omitting completely the amazing things Christ said to him in return. The Gospel according to Matthew goes on to tell us of what he omitted saying, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
These things are so much to his praise, things for which he’s to be held in deep reverence, but he omitted them in his incredible spirit of meekness. Go through the Gospel of Mark (it didn’t even bear his name) with the image of Peter in mind and you would understand better the spirit of meekness at work in him.
As far as Peter was concerned, no praise was due to him. The tedious effort to record accurately the life of Jesus to which he was closely part of was to God’s glory alone. He cared nothing for himself. And this reveals a lot to us why God used him so mightily. All that demonstrations of power was because Peter knew that God was to be in the centre of everything. That the purpose of our lives is to seek the glory of God and magnify him. When we truly, like Peter, become meek, humble, and selfless, we shall begin to know more of what power is. Humility and meekness as we can see in Peter is the cost of power.
We can see this mindset in everyone who God used mightily. Not just Peter alone. We can see it magnificently displayed in Paul’s writings, and as a matter of fact, every other apostle. So this was the secret of their power. If we want power to accomplish God’s will for the salvation of those who see his power at work in us or those who hear it, let us do likewise.
—The Sad Trend Of Today—
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers… Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” (2 Timothy 3:1 – 2, 5)
Today however, contrary to these holy men and the host of others, we see the contrary amidst professing “Christians” and “holy men”. In the wake of the mad rivalry of church owners, it seems that stupid boasting can’t be resisted. Many so called men of God are just pursuing praise knowing this would make men think (merely think) they are approved of God.
It’s a sad trend of today which informs us of why there is little or no manifestation of God’s power today. To cover up for these powerlessness, still in the same vanity that drives God’s power away from us, some go as far as cooking stories to look like wonders are happening through their ministries. We shall not go deep in the things that people do to deceive people that God is working wonders through them. But they are real and heartbreaking. Either people coldly accept to sit powerlessly, or they coin up stories to deceive people. This is what the Bible refers to as lying wonders in 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
But, let us not be deceived. It is clear that, as in the hymn of Chris Bowater, the time is ripe in the nations for works of power and authority. Let us through meekness and humility and God-centredness seek this power and it shall be ours.
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)
You see, God said, “I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” (Exodus 33:19). Because of what is written in this passage of scripture, people often think that God shows mercy to just anyone at random. Rather than coming to this conclusion, why not ask, “on whom is he willing to show mercy?” This is the same with power. He gives power freely, but on whom is he willing to bestow his power? From all in whom we see that God manifested his power, one thing is common; meekness. So let us be meek so that he’d be willing to give us his power.
The Christian life that will reflect the power of God must be such a life that is absolutely dedicated to the glory of God and his glory alone. No secret lurking place for self glory. Surely, if you make an idol of yourself, seeking that others should praise or worship you by glorifying yourself, God will oppose you and make you understand that you are but man. Let us humble ourselves before the Lord, and he shall lift us up (James 4:10). He shall lift us up by manifesting his power in us to the salvation of those who witness it or hear about it.
It is not an easy thing to live in way as to be able to manifest God’s power. It’s hard. It is right to live well and to serve God zealously with all the might, which things are praise worthy, meaning we must live in a way that is praise worthy but without seeking praise. This is hard. But this is the cost of power. Let us go for it.
1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” Now, when is this due time? That time is likely on the judgment day. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and THEN shall every man have praise of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5). Mark my emphasis on “then.” There is the due time for every man to receive his praise from God. That time is when the Lord shall come. That time is the day of judgment. Yes there are times of minor glorification of the followers of Jesus while in the flesh, but we must know that the appointed day for receiving praise from God is the day of judgment. So while that day is yet to come, focus on the glory of God alone. Let us in the spirit of patient meekness and humility earnestly pray for power from above to come upon us and his universal church. As we do that may God hear us and grant us power in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thank you for reading.
Prayer: Dear Lord, we know indeed that the time is right in the nations for works of power and authority, yet we know with far more certainty that all power and authority belongs to you. Dear Lord, help us to have a change and renewal of our minds to be vessels meet for the manifestation your power and authority. Dear Lord make us humble and meek. Let us seek your glory alone and none of ours O Lord. And as we do this, give us power from on high to win the nations for you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
This article is from a book I’m writing titled “THE BLESSED CRUSADE.” It may not be coming out anytime soon, but please subscribe to get a notification of when it is available. It’s going to be available for free. Thank you and God bless you.
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