And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing. (Luke 9:1, 2 NASB)
One of the foundational concepts of 12-Step recovery is powerlessness. “We admitted we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behavior, that our lives had become unmanageable.” Another concept is that God (Higher Power) can restore us to sanity. “We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.”
Regardless of whether you like the term “Higher Power” for God, or whether you believe others believe that such a power is in actuality God describing Himself in Scripture or not; what is true is that this “belief” is in line with Scripture. We are powerless to change this world on our own. God is more powerful than we are. God loves us and wants to save us.
But what is also true, but not really evident through 12-Step programs is the power we are given. In recovery programs following these steps, the power is more implied than implicit, and is couched in terms of the group rather than the individual. And I’m okay with that. If you’re not, you may need to spend a bit more time with Paul and his “you-plural” throughout his letters. That’s for groups, not individuals (silly American).
But there is also place for the power Jesus gives us as individuals through His Spirit over the evil of this world, both physical and spiritual. This power is given within a group, but still, to individuals. The question I ask today is, “Is this power given to the disciples effective to use on themselves?” In other words, can the power Jesus gives us over the evil of this world be used to rid ourselves of the evil within us? I’m guessing Paul would answer yes, and refer to many of his letters to several of the churches floundering around powerless amid a wash of power available to them.
How does Paul do it? How does Paul avail himself of this power available through the Spirit of God? I think Philippians 3 gives us a good depiction: “This one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind, reaching for what lies ahead, I press on for the goal in the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:13,14) In so doing, I believe Paul experiences this power Jesus gives to His disciples, but in use on himself. Paul is transformed by the renewing of his mind when he presses on for the goal of Christ Jesus. His focus is on Jesus, and the power is activated in him.
So pray, focused on the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Pray focused on where you go, not where you’ve been. Pray, focused on where Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding on your behalf. Enter into His presence through prayer, and let the transforming power of your Master empower change in you, and then change in the world (or at least the piece assigned to you).
I need to go, now that I know how to pray this morning. Leave a note about your view through the knothole, what are you praying?