Please note that this is continued from yesterday’s post and is a little longer than normal.
What we need to understand as the church of the Living God today is that there is much that we can accomplish and much that we do accomplish outside of the realm of God’s supernatural power. We can build buildings without God’s supernatural power. We can plan successful programs without God’s supernatural power. We can see our children baptized without God’s supernatural power. We can call staff members without God’s supernatural power. In fact, churches can and many do function completely without God’s supernatural power. Just as the disciples went out healing many, but when the real challenge came, they were powerless.
Now, let me explain what I mean by God’s supernatural power. I am NOT talking about excitement, emotion, or even enthusiasm. I am NOT talking about tongues, talents or even trances. I am NOT talking about publicity, popularity, or even profession. I am talking about humility that leads to holiness in living, hope for the future, hallelujahs for the present, healing of spiritual diseases, and Hell-assaulting ministries. I am talking about prayer that’s more than words, proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ that leads to not only profession of faith but possession of faith. I am talking about power from on high that leads us to exalt Jesus and evangelize the lost. I am talking about God manifesting His presence in our lives and in our churches so that His supernatural power works in and through us in an extraordinary way — in a way that cannot be accomplished outside of His power.
Have you ever wondered why prayers aren’t “answered.” Oh, some of our prayers are answered, but I am talking about prayers concerning our lost friends and loved ones. I am talking about the gang problems, race issues, drug and alcohol abuse, child abuse, abortion, and so many other things that have become prevalent in our society. I am talking about a young man going into a church in Charleston and killing 9 people and wounding others all because they are of a different race. Why are these things happening in record numbers? Because this kind does not go out but by prayer and fasting.
What we need to understand today is that these things are only the symptoms of the problem. The problem is plain old-fashioned Satanic wickedness that possesses, overpowers, and controls. It is the same story from the Garden of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane. And the solution, the cure, is God’s supernatural power.
In the midst of the mundane, mediocre, same-old, same-old, half-hearted praying without much expectation, imagine the excitement of experiencing a fresh touch by something out of the ordinary. Consider how shattered the dull routine of average “everydayness” would be in the presence of Almighty God. My friends, I am telling you, if we would allow God to infuse us with His living secure hope, every desperate, fearful, confused moment in life would disappear.
You say, Preacher, how do you know that? Because God is still God. He hasn’t changed, nor will He ever change. The God of the Bible is the same God who is waiting and willing to work in the lives of His people today. And people, when God comes, circumstances, situations, things and people change. When God moves, reality shakes and lives are transformed. When God works, He often does things in ways that are out of the ordinary and defy natural explanations. His power is above and beyond anything we can think, imagine, or expect. That is God’s supernatural power, and that’s what we need today.
How do I know that? Because Is. 58:6 tells us that God honors the kind of fasting and praying that looses the bands of wickedness, undoes the heavy burdens, lets the oppressed go free, and that breaks every yoke, destroys every stronghold that Satan has established.
How do I know that? Because II Chr. 7:14 says, If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. There is only one spiritual discipline that includes every one of these requirements: fasting and prayer. The purpose of fasting, and it’s always combined with prayer, in God’s Word has always been humility before God. Fasting is to seek to know God in a deeper experience. Fasting is to show sorrow over sin, and issues itself in confession and repentance. Fasting calls us to dependence on God for strength and renewal. Fasting prepares us to receive God’s leadership, His guidance, His message for our day.
Fasting, true fasting is a bowing down of the soul and submission to God that leads to moral action. But like anything we do, it is worthless if it does not come from a sincere heart. Fasting is not a way to manipulate God or to fulfill selfish desires. Fasting is not done in order to draw attention to yourself. Fasting is improper while you continue in sin or harbor ungodly attitudes.
Times come when every Christian needs a fresh touch from God. Whether we drift from God, become distracted by competing interests, or become overwhelmed by the struggles of life, we need to reconnect with God. Sometimes we are overpowered by circumstances, intimidated by challenges, or suffer the pain of deep wounds. At those times our need for God becomes obvious. Our energy is exhausted, our plans crumble, and every remedy has failed. When the reality of who we are and who He is sets in, it’s time to humble ourselves, cry out in desperation, lift our hands, and place our hope in the only one who can save us. And He is waiting to do it. Waiting to deliver us. Waiting to bless us. Waiting until we humble ourselves and pray. Waiting until we commit ourselves to radical obedience and absolute purity.