He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:7-8 (NIV)
Power has received a bad rap, notably for its repeated abuse at the hands of so many of us. We even have the saying “Power corrupts” floating around, but that really isn’t true. It is we who corrupt whatever power we gain or receive. It isn’t power that is the problem; it is the weakness of the human heart and mind. Christ offers us hope in this passage for a different kind of power.
The power the apostles received was pure and incorruptible. The power of the Holy Spirit equips us to be what we cannot be on our own – holy. He brings fruitfulness, purity, gifting and more. This certainly does not sound like corruption, but it is certainly powerful. In our flesh we pursue power in the worst possible ways. We seek power so that we can be in control and get what we want, but the power of the Holy Spirit is given for the purposes of God’s kingdom and no other reason.
Being empowered by God is something that comes through seeking Him and waiting on Him. If we seek the power first it can lead to all kinds of unhealthy and unrighteous behavior. We can think there is some secret combination of religious requirements that will gain us access to this power, but we are grasping at thin air. God cannot be manipulated into empowering anyone. He empowers those who follow His Son when they need it and how they need it.
I need the power of God in my life. We all do. We cannot do the work of God without the power of God, but we cannot have the power of God if power is all we want. I need to grow the attitude in myself that the power of God is means to be used by Him. So I will pray for a right heart. I will seek God with all my heart, mind, strength and soul. I will do all I can to make myself available to be empowered by the one who calls me beloved.