I grew up and was raised in a Pentecostal home. I was no stranger to the power of the Holy Spirit, I just didn’t understand it. When I was a kid, I used to stay up to watch televangelists on late night programing. You know what I’m talking about: miracle spring water, tent revivals, and faith healers. Something in me was attracted to the idea that one person could cultivate the attention of so many people and that they seemed to possess some sort of supernatural power. I didn’t know whether I believed it was really God or not, but I wanted power like that. I was longing for something beyond myself.
A few years ago, I heard a pastor preaching on the power of God and how my generation needed to walk in power. He mentioned that he’d heard of some millennials who had moved to the Middle East to join ISIS because they couldn’t find anything radical enough in the US. They wanted something beyond themselves.
Today I serve as the Discipleship and Connections Pastor at an Assemblies of God church and I would consider myself to be “bapti-costal’ in theology. I’m fairly conservative theologically and I also embrace women in ministry leadership and every gift of the Spirit.
While my desire to see God move in supernatural ways has not died, I think my understanding of what that really means has changed. In Colossians 3:1-12, Paul is explaining the implications of the resurrection for us. In short, if I want to see God move in power, I have to die to myself.
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3
The key to seeing resurrection power on display in my life is setting my mind on things above; being intentional in my submission and surrender. And Paul gets into specifics of what that looks like :
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self…” Colossians 3:5-10
If I want to see the power of God on display in my life, I’ve got to die to the stuff that I want to do! I am a single 29 year old virgin… HELLO!… there are some things I want to do in that first list Paul shares. But I also want to live a holy life. I think if you’re honest with yourself, you experience that inner conflict too. Maybe sexual immorality and impurity aren’t your vices, but check out that second list: anger, wrath, malice, slander, obscene talk, and lying.
I’ve watched the Holy Spirit use people in powerful ways – I’m talking miraculous healings and powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The thing that’s been consistent with each and every one of those people being used in powerful ways is their lives behind the scenes. They are constantly ‘putting on their new self’. They actively and intentionally choose to surrender to the will and plan of God even when they don’t want to.
Our church is hosting a women’ s conference this weekend and I am preparing to preach. I asked the Lord to allow us to see His glory and power, and He reminded me of this Colossians passage and what needs to happen in my heart as I prepare.
So, here’s my prayer this week… will you pray it with me?
Lord, I surrender it all to you. I take every thought captive to the truth of the Gospel. Help me to live and walk like you. Show me Your glory. Show me Your power. In Jesus’ name.