The Spirit and Power

I had a conversation with a young man this past week who practices Muslim religious beliefs, and as we talked I realized an even greater truth behind what we read in 1 Cor. 2:4 – “my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.” He was convinced, based on a set of teachings, that his way of life was good and that his practices were going to get him to some form of paradise when he dies. The irony is that he was completely high while he was having this conversation with me; something that is very much against the teachings of Islam. He then went on to brag about the time he spent in prison for committing murder, and that he felt like Islam helped to change him into a better person. As followers of Jesus, we have to be so reliant on Holy Spirit that we don’t just preach the gospel, but that we back up the gospel that we preach with power. There is a big difference between the two. Anyone can come up with a good list of how someone should live their life, and there are plenty of religions that claim to offer peace, happiness, or something great in the afterlife—and a lot of people fall for those tricks. But the persuasive words of those belief systems are all based on a lie. What we have is the truth. And when we back up our message with a “demonstration of the Spirit and power” people quickly recognize that it is real. A few days after this conversation, we met another woman who was completely bent over a walker while walking down the street. She didn’t need a conversation about how good Jesus is. She needed an encounter that showed her how good Jesus is. And while several people stood around watching, God showed up and demonstrated his love through the power to heal her back. If you haven’t already seen it, you can watch her testimony here. We cannot accept a watered-down gospel. We cannot accept a gospel without power. Neither of those will change the world. Too many churches are playing it safe with feel good messages every week that don’t fully equip believers to do the work of Jesus. We can’t change the world by playing it safe. We have to be willing to take some risk and expect God to back us up. Our Muslim friend didn’t receive Jesus that day, but we will see him again, and we are confident that he will have an encounter with the power of God that will change his life forever.


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