Good morning my friends, today marks the day I am claiming back my out-of-control life. Now that the school year is winding down I am going to take the opportunity to get my daily agenda back in order and set some new priorities. I have managed to get the devotional preparation back in place now I need to get my health regulated. So after I finish preparing this devotion this morning I will be going out for my first run in a while. I am looking forward to it. But first, let us consider the last part of 1 Corinthians 4.
First I want to get a pet peeve of mine out of the way. I have a real problem with people building human tradition out of a single verse from the Bible. Here is an example:
Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. v. 15
From here is born what has become a tradition in some circles of spiritual father's and mother's. There is no other scripture that makes reference to this except when Paul speaks of his relationship with Timothy. But I think Paul spoke of his close ties with Timothy and how he felt like an actual father to him. The reason this bothers me is because it takes on a relationship that only the Father has with us. I believe it is a dangerous thing because the title "father" means so much more than someone who was there at the beginning of life. People take this verse out of context not understanding the struggle Paul was having in trying to regulate some major problems in Corinth from a distance. He was trying to get them to see he was different from the others who were now trying to cause problems, simply because he had greater knowledge, power and experience. He wanted them to pay attention to what he was warning them about.
Setting that aside, now I want us to consider a single verse in context to what is being said:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. v.20
This may shock a few people who have approached faith like a philosophy. In fact, that was one of the problems Paul was trying to take care of here; he was dealing with a bunch of philosophers, debaters, thinkers. The Greeks honoured their thinkers. However, the kingdom is about God's power. This power of love transforms lives but it also heals and changes facts. When a person's cancer disappears because of prayer what do you call that? When a person has looked for a job for months and someone prays with them and the next day they get a job what do you call that? When a person is gripped with unfounded fears and they disappear as they are prayed over, what do you call that?
Allow me to set this straight; prayer is not fine sounding poetry; it is not a way to make us feel good; it is not a relief of stress. Prayer is spiritual conversation, with words, heavenly language and sometimes just with groans that are interpreted by the Spirit. It is our crying out to our Father, our part of the partnership which sees him intervene in lives and situations.
You cannot just read the lessons Jesus taught and ignore his power. You can't just turn a blind eye to the fact that the Church has turned into a houes of philosophy instead of a house of prayer, a house of power. Jesus did miracles daily as did his followers. He plainly states:
"I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14:12)
How can we ignore that? There are isolated "hot spots" where greater things are happening but most of the Church has turned a dull grey.
What do you expect to happen when you pray? Do you expect to see mountains move? I do now. In the last few weeks we have been experiencing a revival in prayer as the Lord has opened our eyes to see his answers. Forecasts have changed, vehicles have started working, illnesses have disappeared, finances have come in, swellings have gone down, peace has entered in. Now we pray with eager anticipation of the answers. That is how it is suppose to be all the time.
In some cases the Spirit has revealed how we have been praying incorrectly and has actually changed our prayers. Sometimes the answers have come in unexpected ways. But regardless of how they come one thing is certain they come by power. Jesus promised us greater things but the qualifying statement is "anyone who has faith in me". Prayer is not poetry although in can be poetic. Prayer is not long winded. Prayer is simply asking for the Father's intervention; it is action; it is power. (I refer to intercessory prayer because we know there are various forms of prayer such as praise and thanksgiving).
Do you believe? Do you truly believe? Then understand Jesus has sent us out as agents of power, able to pray over the sick and dying, instruments of transformation:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.
Let's prove it today. Let's look for miracles. Let's be agents of miracles.