But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8, NIV)
What happens when there is no power? Not much.
On a recent home improvement project, contracts were signed and blueprints in hand. Building materials were stacked in the yard and work crews were on site. Everything was in place for the work to begin. However, when the carpenter attempted to cut the first board, the saw clicked but nothing happened. In heavily accented English, he hollered, “No power!” The overload of all their equipment had unexpectedly blown the electrical circuit breaker.
How many times does that happen in our spiritual lives? We have a clear direction of our mission, workers are committed, and supplies may be available. And yet, there is no genuine power or significant results. Without God’s supernatural power enabling the work, our efforts produce disappointing outcomes. Which is then closely followed by disillusionment and burn out.
In the first chapter of Acts, Jesus instructed His followers to wait until they received the power of the Holy Spirit to fill them and anoint their efforts. They obediently waited until the powerful day of Pentecost; only then did they begin to evangelize the world. They waited on God’s power and God supernaturally spread His word worldwide.
No Prayer, No Power
But waiting is difficult for those of us with an impatient streak running through our DNA. We envision great things, we pray and ask for God’s guidance and blessing, we align the people and resources, and then we’re off! Many times, I’ve followed this pattern. With thirty years experience in the corporate world coupled with the gift of empowerment, I’ve knocked down seemingly impenetrable obstacles to success. Although kicking down proverbial doors served me well in the work place, I’ve learned it’s always best to await God’s supernatural power instead of relying on my own strength and effort.
Over a year ago, I met with three friends to consider the feasibility of starting a Christian, multidenominational, professional, singles group in our city. We initially agreed to pray about it and earnestly seek God’s direction. After three months of prayer, we decided to proceed. Not only has God blessed our efforts, He bonded the leadership team with such complementary traits and skills, it is truly miraculous. Time and again, I am reminded that it is, “’Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).
When we seek and wait for God’s power, awesome stuff happens.