Consider the power that God pledges to help us—“his almighty power”. Here is the vitality of our hope. When we seek to obey God, his omnipotence comes to our aid. The power he promises is awesome (Ephesians 1:19-20). By God’s power Christ was raised to life. By God’s power we were raised to life (Ephesians 2:5). You and I are living witnesses to the reality of the Almighty God. We live within the sphere of Christ’s resurrection.
However, we must guide our thoughts about this promise to conform to the Scriptures. We can err in various directions, but let us avoid them all. Do not imagine that resurrection power provides you from an escape from difficulties in this present age. A careful reading of Romans 8:18-39 should be enough to convince you that following Christ does not mean “your best life now” or other such silliness. Yet do not limit God’s power in your thoughts. “We are not… to limit and restrain it in our narrow and shallow thoughts, and to think in this, or in that, the power of God may help or secure us; but to believe that he is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think” (Flavel, Works, Vol. 3, p. 345). Compare Ephesians 3:20. However, understand that God’s power will help you to live godly as a partner with Christ in his mission. And do not bog yourself down with incomplete evaluations. “All things seem to be working contrary to my hope in Christ!” Every believer will struggle with incomplete evaluations, as Abraham did (Romans 4:18-22).
So then, rest and rejoice in God’s power. Act this way in the struggle with remaining sin. We may feel like a whole marine division of the spiritual forces of evil is coming against us and is about to overrun our position. We may feel powerless against the attack. But do we believe in the power of God (Genesis 18:14)? “Though sin be too hard for thee, yet not for him… Set his power to work, by faith and prayer.” (Watson). Recall that God is greater in the face of strong temptation (1 John 4:4).
As we strive to serve God, determine to go forward in his strength (Acts 18:9-11). How many people does God have in the area in which you live? Do you want to give up or go find them? “Oh pastor, we can’t do it!” But God can. “We can’t solve this family problem!” But God can. “I can’t defeat this sin I’m struggling with!” But God can. Some writer in earlier times said, “Assure thyself when thou art at the greatest pinch [that] strength shall come.” Remember Elijah beside the dried up brook (1 Kings 17:7-24). When the water dried up, God made a way. But it didn’t look like it at first, for the widow had very little food. But God supplied. Whew, that was a close call! But then the widow’s son dies anyway. What is God doing? Never had anyone been raised from the dead. But God gave life from the dead. How much strength do you need? How much strength does your local gathering of Christ followers need? God’s almighty power is sufficient. Therefore, let us rely on the Lord!
Grace and peace, David