First, it means His power is at work IN us. There are a lot of ways to describe this and lots of verses talking about it. This is simple to point to in our youth center, because the logo verse on the wall sums it up well:
Jesus, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. Luke 3.16 (MSG).
Paul also had somethings to say that I think we need to see:
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
Philippians 2:13 (NIV)
Did you catch that? God's power is at work in you giving you the desire and power to do exactly what you were made to do! In real life I can point to a lot of examples showing you God's power at work in people's lives. The most glaring example for me is personal, as I witnessed the change God can work in someone! Brett was someone I never expected to see walk through the doors of our church, but one of our buddies brought him. It seemed like a joke, because I knew who he was and what he regularly did! Not exactly a paragon of virtue, to put it mildly. But, he came and came again and I watched God get a hold of him. He went from party boy who enjoyed most everything the world had to offer (anything and everything that would bring him pleasure) to a guy who was completely removed from that world overnight. In fact, some of his old friends used to talk about our church "brainwashing" him, because they said they didn't even know him anymore. Thatt was a radical change because of one simple fact: Jesus being Mighty God means His power is at work IN us.
Second, Jesus' power is at work FOR us. He's not just involved inside of us, although that is PART of His focus. Jesus also provides us strength to make it through the things we're going through and is on our side!
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, (youth in Hebrew means an Olympic athlete, the best of the best) and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
Isaiah 40:29-31 (NIV)
Or maybe take it from Paul who said:
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
Neither of these verses tell us we need to be strong enough to take on anything! Instead God is telling us something important: it's not about us, but Him. I talked at length about this the other day (read it here) because this is huge in our culture. It's not our power but God's that matters! He is at work in us and for us as our Mighty God. Do we believe He is for us and His power is really sufficient or would we rather rely on our own means? If you lean toward your own strength (which I believe most of us in the United States do regularly), think about this: God said clearly in the Old Testament that it wasn't about the weapons of war or soldiers at the Israelites command, it was all about having God on their side and trusting Him. If that was true in terms of warfare, how much more do you think it applies to life?
Third, Jesus' power is at work THROUGH us. This is the hardest part for me. I know I can do things, but do I let God show the world Himself through me? Not all the time, for sure. However, Jesus' last words on the planet are telling of the importance of this principle:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in
Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in , and to the ends of the earth. Samaria
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Paul continues the message saying:
My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.
2 Corinthians 2:4-5 (NIV)
Notice, Jesus being Mighty God isn't just about us! Yes, His power is at work IN us transforming us from the inside out and it is at work FOR us providing us what we need, but it must also be at work pouring out THROUGH us so the world can see it. This is where a simple illustration works well. If I gave you a 2011 Dodge Viper that was tricked out and capable of literally flying down the road, would you drive it? Or would you just let it sit and never touch it? I know which one my answer is: I'd so be driving it as often as I could. God's power is similar: are we using it or allowing it to sit and go to waste? This is (no pun intended) where the rubber hits the road.
As our Wonderful Counselor, Jesus can tell us where to change and how to change, but we still must work at changing! As our Mighty God, Jesus' power is at work in us and for us, but we have to do something so His power can be at work THROUGH us. What are you doing with the might you have been given? Is it sitting idly by or are you out using it? I hope and pray you use the power of God in and for you to let Him do things through you. Go out and let His power flow...
Thanks to Craig Groeschel from Life Church for preaching the original sermon series from whom I am deeply indebted (and have only stolen much of the thoughts and texts!)!