When’s the power coming back on, Mom? the 13 year-old called from somewhere down the pitch black hall.
By 8 o’clock, I hope. For Roboman from the electric company had assured me of that time when I called at 4:45.
Well, Roboman was wrong. He was off by almost a day. We did homework by candlelight, ate sandwiches by candlelight, played euchre by candlelight and by the time we brushed our teeth by flashlight, all the candles had burned out. In the morning my husband rigged up a generator to power the fridge. By noon—guess what?— the gas had run out too.
It all got me thinking as I ran along. Admittedly, I may have been thinking more since—for the first time in months— I ran without my (stone-cold dead) phone. And as I did, I grew downright glad. I was the gladdest jogger around because I have a power source that will never go out. It will never burn up, fizzle out, or run dry.
Do you tap the same source?
Our Power Source
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises… 2 Peter 1:3-4a
Our power source is a divine. Do you see that in verse 3?
Divine power is available to us through knowledge. Namely, it comes through knowing Jesus Christ, who even as I type, is upholding the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).
Have you ever stopped to think about this?
Every day God lights up the Milky Way with yottawatts of power and he never has an energy crisis. And the amazing thing is that His divine power- this power- is available to you. If you are a Christian you have power to progress. This power is available to you! Before you were a Christian you lived you lived your life in the condition of a power cut. You were powerless to please God. But now you have power to progress.Colin Adams, The Pilgrim’s Progress
All this power is on tap for us who know Christ. And He never has an energy crisis.
No Charge, But You Must Plug In
Here’s more glad news: we don’t pay for this rich source. It is given to us. Gratis, granted. That means it’s a gift.
Knowing God and trusting his precious promises is, if you will, the electrical wire that empowers our life and growth in godliness. In case you wondered, the growth doesn’t come to us when we work like a hamster in a wheel, Kevin DeYoung explains. But neither does our growth in godliness come while we stand still as if riding up an escalator.
No, we cooperate with him. We work out because God is at work in us (Philippians 2:12-13). A vacuum won’t work unless you plug it in. A car won’t run unless you turn the key. We access, if you will, divine power through the twin outlet of our knowledge of him and our trust in his promises.
Promises like it is more blessed to give than receive, and like we will reap a harvest if we don’t stop doing good. Promises like these empower me to give and do good when I’d rather give up and receive.
So God gives the power, but we turn the switch. The car and vacuum are a gift and the outlet and gasoline are too. But to make progress in godliness, we get in the car and push the gas pedal. We make every effort to supplement our faith (2 Peter 1:5). And here’s another empowering precious promise: our effort in this struggle is productive and good.
But that’s not the point of this post. This post is simply to remind you, as I reminded myself in the dark, that we have a power source that will never go out. Oh yes, the people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
Knowledge is Power
Knowledge is power. First Peter 1:3 says that his divine power comes to us through our knowledge of Jesus. We know the gospel, that we are more sinful than we realize and God loves us more than we realize. Both. That while we were still in our sins, Christ died for us. If we know Jesus Christ we won’t be powerless. Growth is possible. Hope is possible. Change is possible.
But we won’t have this power without knowing him. So we press on to know him. In His power, we press on.
That’s why my three non-negotiables for health in any fraught—or not—days stay the same. Especially #3: Go hard after God. I mean seek His face. I mean listen to him speak in his Word. Put down your phone, turn off the news, and press on to know Him.
I have too many impoverished friends. Friends, we will never—never— experience divine power if we don’t know Jesus Christ. Oh you might be a “strong person” and carry on with lots of props. But when the cords are pulled— when your health fails, your nation fractures, and your family is all a shambles —what then?
What is your power source? From whence then comes your help?
God Wants To Be Known
Our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He is our keeper (Psalm 121). God’s power never goes out.
But we unplug from the power of God when we leave our Bibles on the shelf. Going about life without striving to know God is like unplugging from the power source then complaining that we feel anxious and alone in the dark. Complaining about God being silent when your Bible is closed is like complaining about not getting texts when your phone is turned off.
Tim Challies puts a bow on it: Apart from this, speaking by his Son, through his Spirit, in the Bible, God does not promise that He will speak in any other way.
In other words, we can all believe that God will speak to us through the Bible. And all this JoyPrO stuff is about how God does speak and how when we listen we gain divine power when we seek.
That’s the one thing. It’s the one habit I hope I never shed. Till kingdom come, I want to keep knowing Him and his power. Because all other powers, even the sun itself, will grow dark.
Don’t Make Excuses
So we’d best not make excuses. First Peter 1:3 doesn’t allow it. We cannot say, “If only I had more time or more money or a better church or better family I could be more godly and have a stronger spiritual life.” There is no good excuse.
But we can’t expect God to give us what he did not promise us. He did not promise us the power to cure disease, or create world peace or even to change a child’s heart. But take his promises to the bank. If he tells us, Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you, believe it. Seek first his kingdom.
And keep seeking. His Kingdom and Himself. Don’t settle. Because Christ wants us to grow- in spiritual life and godliness.
Don’t Make The Fatal Mistake
Because God’s powerstore is always available through our knowledge of Him and of his precious promises, we can’t slack. I’ll leave you with C.S. Lewis.
I think that many of us, when Christ has enabled us to overcome one or two sins that were an obvious nuisance, are inclined to feel (though we do not put it into words) that we are now good enough. He has done all we wanted Him to do, and we should be obliged if He would now leave us alone. As we say ‘I never expected to be a saint, I only wanted to be a decent ordinary chap.’ And we imagine when we say this that we are being humble.
But this is the fatal mistake. Of course we never wanted, and never asked, to be made into the sort of creatures He is going to make us into. But the question is not what we intended ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when He made us.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001) 201-202.
The Father intended us to be remade in true righteousness and holiness, to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
And to that noble end, He freely gives us all the power we need.
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…