You do have the power
How do you use your power?
Often we might think we don’t have power because we believe too many other factors influence our lives and we can do nothing about it. We think this way because we don’t realize the power we really do have.
Power is the quality that enables individuals to achieve their aims. Scripture stresses the power of God, demonstrated for example in Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Scripture also stresses the relative powerlessness of humanity in God’s sight. However, we still have power in that we can decide how we are going to reach our goals and meet our needs. Our power is the ability to act or to produce an effect. How we implement our power is greatly important to God.
We all have needs; our tendency is to use our power in self-servicing ways. How you meet your legitimate needs matters. We often get what we want by using other people. We use our power in whatever way we can to meet our legitimate needs in illegitimate ways.
Jesus as the example
What a wonderful day it was. Jesus went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. When Jesus came up from the water, the Spirit of God descended on Him. Then a voice from heaven declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matt 3:17).” A greater affirmation of Jesus could not be given. He is the Christ—the Messiah—who is the Son of God.
The next event in the Jesus’ life is very significant. In Matt 4:1-4 we see:
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Then immediately (as Mark 1:12 tells us) Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. He went to the wilderness for a very specific reason—to be tempted by the devil. The event begins by Jesus fasting for 40-days and night. To no one’s surprise, after the end of the fast, Jesus was hungry. Imagine this scene. Jesus is the Son of God. He has tremendous power.
How would you respond in this situation? I know I would have the tendency to satisfy my own need. But this is not what Jesus did.
After Jesus was good and hungry, only then did the tempter come. The tempter is the tester of one’s faith. Satan always shows up in our time of neediness. Notice the wording that implies “and then the Satan came.” We are never more vulnerable to Satan’s attack then when we are in need.
Satan came before Christ in His time of need. Satan then challenged Jesus to turn the stones into bread. This is a great idea. You and I would never be tempted in this way. After all, when was the last time you turned a stone into bread. Jesus, however, had the power to do this. In fact, Jesus could turn all of the stones in the wilderness into bread. That way, Jesus could feed the people of the world and even pick up a few crumbs for Himself. This is great advice! What could be wrong with this?
Of course, this is Satan’s common ploy. He doesn’t care that Jesus is the Messiah. In fact, He wants Jesus to live as the Messiah, but He wants Jesus to live as the Messiah under His terms. Satan treats us the same. He doesn’t care that we are Christians and that we want to follow Jesus. Satan just wants us to use our power his way. Satan wants us to fill our legitimate needs in an illegitimate manner.
Satan wants to steal what is important to us in our time of need! This is why Jesus had to go to be tempted. He needed to stand up to Satan for our sake. He went into the wilderness in His time of need so to He could meet us in our time need. When we are in the wilderness of temptation, Jesus is with us.
Satan not only comes to us with great ideas, he also sweetens the deal with the concept of immediacy. Satan knows Jesus has the power to make break, but Satan wants Him to make it now. The test is whether Jesus will deviate from His mission to bring salvation to the world or use His personal power to meet His very real need now. Jesus decided to pass on Satan’s offer. Jesus told Satan that bread was not important to Him. What was important was to live on (according to) the Word of God.
Apparently, God brings tests into our lives to see where if our hearts are focused on God. Jesus passed this test. God also brings tests into our lives for us to know our own heart. God wants us to find out about us during the time of need. Please remember that every test that comes into my life arises from a need. Are we able to use our personal power to meet our needs in a legitimate way according to God’s Word so that we are giving all glory and honor to Him?
The use of our power to meet legitimate needs
Satan wants to live out our Christianity the way he wants us to instead of following what the Bible teaches us to do. Let’s consider some examples.
- Companionship: We all need friends. Sometimes we are willing to do whatever is necessary to make and keep friends. So, rather than stand against the crowd, we may go along with the crowd. We may stay in a crowd that is going the wrong direction just so we can have friends. Thus, we use our power to get friends.
- Justice: We all need justice. I can’t tell you how often have say, “This is not fair.” Satan recognizes that we have power. He wants us to use that power right now. He has great ideas—get mad, gossip and slander, take them down. Why? Because they are taking you down. You have every right to get back at them.
- Provisions: We all need food and clothing. Often we need more money. We have promised to give to God’s work, but the money doesn’t go far enough. So, Satan tells us to juggle the funds. Perhaps the boss doesn’t pay enough, so Satan tempts us to steal from work. Perhaps Satan can convince us to cheat on our taxes that way we would have more to give to God.
Satan wants to teach us how simple it is to change rocks into our current need. He convinces us that it is all within our grasp. Just use your power to take what will meet your need. Satan always has a great idea to fill your need and they all sound so wonderful.
The most important thing to remember
Satan wants us to think the most important thing in life is the immediate satisfaction of our needs and that you have the power to pull it off right now! Satan has the best idea and we have the power to make them work. Satan is saying to us that he has the brains and we have the brawn.
But Jesus pushed back. He would not be moved.
- Satan said, “Think of all the people you could feed.” This would be noble would it not? Yet, Jesus never used His power for His personal gain—to meet His need. Nor should we.
- Satan said, “But you’re hungry. You could make all kinds of bread. And it would be great.” Yet, Jesus knew this would lead Him down a slippery slope. He would never complete His mission. Jesus used His power for the good and gain of others.
- Satan said, “But you have to eat. Your need is legitimate.” Jesus knew that immediate food was not necessary; rather living according to God’s Word was always immediately necessary.
Jesus, in essence told Satan, “You are wrong to think that life is about the immediate satisfaction of meeting needs based on the power to control My life. Life is about needing God and the provision He has given Me in His time according to His word.
I need to know one thing only. I need to know that I need God and if I love Him, I have everything I need.