“For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power…”
~1 Thessalonians 1:5
“For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.”
~1 Corinthians 4:20
A couple months ago, I had a very profound dream that I believe was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Here is the gist of it: I was sitting in a large arena at a conference, listening to a man speaking God’s Word. The man was saying something to this effect: “So many people live in defeat and hopelessness when they were never supposed to live that way. God has unlimited spiritual riches in store for each one of you, but it breaks His heart when you deny Him the opportunity to bestow those things on you because you say, ‘I’m unworthy’ or ‘I don’t want this.’ He is grieved when you deny Him the opportunity to pour everything out that He has in store! He just wants you to open your arms and receive.”
In the dream, I was so deeply moved, that I began to cry out, “God, I just want all that You have for me!” It was very apparent in the dream that I was weeping. Then I awoke, and for the rest of that day, I was deeply moved and kept thinking about that dream.
Then, a few weeks later, I traveled with some leaders from my church to the Leader’s Advance conference at Bethel Church in Redding, California. At the first night of the conference during the worship music time, I experienced something that I’ve never experienced before: I began to cry uncontrollably. The presence of God in the room and in my heart was so strong at that moment that I was just overwhelmed by His goodness and love. I felt like I saw a tiny glimpse of heaven, and that tiny glimpse was enough to set me over the edge. I was deeply convicted that there is so much more to life than we can even comprehend, and there is so much more to God than we can ever imagine. As I cried, I remembered the dream I had had a few weeks prior, and this set me to crying even more. I felt like, in a sense, I was living that dream in real life. So I spoke the words out loud that I said in the dream: “God, I just want all that You have for me!”
Through these experiences, I believe the Lord was revealing to me a profound truth that He desires all His people would walk in and believe: He has creates us to live in power. It grieves my heart when I see believers going through life with an attitude of defeat. It’s like they expect things to go wrong before they even happen. They live their lives out of fear, and this fear imprisons them and keeps them in chains, not releasing them to the fullness of who God has called them to be. These people are afraid of getting sick; afraid of losing their job; afraid of running out of money; afraid of what people think of them; afraid of relational problems; afraid of the unknown; and afraid of the enemy and his attacks and schemes. They have the fear of man rather than the fear of God. I know, for I have lived in this place before.
Yet, what does the Word of God say about this? “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment” (1 John 4:18). Jesus is perfect love. Fear is the opposite of love. By opening the door to fear, we invite torment into our lives. Also, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear is the antithesis of power. By these verses, we can be sure of this: Any kind of fear in our lives does not and cannot come from God. God’s heart is to give us the remedy to fear: Walking in power, love, and a sound mind!
You see, fear brings a spirit of torment into our lives. And that spirit of torment limits us and inhibits us from doing what God has created us to do. We can’t serve God the way we were created to serve Him when we are constantly walking in fear. Surely, it breaks God’s heart when He sees His children walking around with their heads down, fearful of what might be around every corner. By living in this type of fear, what we are unintentionally saying is, “God, I don’t trust You. My problems are bigger than You are. The enemy has more power than You do. I want to serve You, but I’m not really sure You will come through for me.” As a child of God, if I walk in fear, I am being a poor representation of my Father. The more I live in fear, the less effective I am for the kingdom of God. Fear stops me from taking risks and getting out of my comfort zone when the Holy Spirit leads me to step out in faith.
The solution? Know who you are and Whose you are. The lyrics of two current worship songs come to mind: “You’re a good, good Father. It’s Who You are….and I’m loved by You. It’s who I am” (Housefires). Also, “I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God” (Jonathan David Helser and Melissa Helser). We need to live like we believe this. The key to living this way is walking in His power. And the key to walking in His power is inviting the Holy Spirit into every corner of our lives so that we would truly submit every part of our being to Him. He comes to take away our fears and replace them with a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. As we invite Him to come and ask Him to pour out everything He has for us, we will see just how great and unlimited His riches in glory are.
Too many believers are living powerless lives because they do not realize the extent of power that God desires them to walk in every day. As the Scriptures at the top of this article say, the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is a gospel that is not in word alone but also in power! Words without power have no effect. It is only when we invite the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives to back up His Word that we truly experience freedom from fear and worry—freedom we were always created to walk in.
You are no longer a slave to fear, and you have a good, good Father. Live that way. And never hesitate to ask God to give you everything He has for you. That is not a selfish request; it is a humble request from a child who knows who his Father is. Most certainly, as He answers that request, you will live in greater freedom and power than you ever have before.