What Would Power Look Like?

Article by

Founder & Teacher, desiringGod.org

I take it as beyond dispute that all Christians should live and minister in the power of God.

  • “Stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
  • “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).
  • “The kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power” (1 Corinthians 4:20).
  • “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
  • “Consider what is the exceeding greatness of his power at work in us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19).
  • “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” (Ephesians 3:20).
  • "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might" (Ephesians 6:10).
  • “Some hold the form of religion but deny the power of it” (2 Timothy 3:5).

What might it look like at Bethlehem if God clothed us with the fullness of power that many of his servants have known? Consider one possibility from the life of John Wesley six months after his new birth:

Monday, January 1, 1739. Mr. Hall, Kinchin, Ingham, Whitefield, Hutchins, and my brother Charles were present at our love-feast in Fetter-lane, with about sixty of our brethren. About three in the morning as we were continuing instant in prayer, the power of God came mightily upon us, insomuch that many cried out for exceeding joy, and many fell to the ground. As soon as we were recovered a little from that awe and amazement at the presence of His majesty, we broke out with one voice, “We praise thee, O God, we acknowledge thee to be the Lord.”

This experience was a turning point in Wesley’s ministry. From then on there was a new power and anointing. For example on April 25, 1739, as he was preaching immediately one and another and another sunk to the earth; they dropped on every side, as if thunderstruck. People were gripped with an awesome revelation of God and of the sinfulness of their sin. Critics standing by were suddenly gripped by similar conviction and converted on the spot.

May I ask that you take the Scriptures cited above and spend some time praying through them, asking God to clothe us with power at Bethlehem? Let it not be said of us, “You have not because you ask not.”

Pursuing all the fullness of God,

Pastor John