Energy is the ability to accomplish work. It is often associated with motion and as such is “kinetic” energy. Work is the concept of moving something through a distance. Without motion, there is no measurement of work. A person can push on a cart or wheelbarrow to the point of exhaustion, but until it moves, no work will have been done.

Power is the rate at which work is done. The faster an object is moved through a distance, the more power a force is said to have had. One horsepower is the standard unit that can move 110 pounds through a distance of five feet in one second of time. Calculations in power involve not only an object (mass), but also distance and time.

When we push down on the accelerator pedal of a vehicle, we anticipate motion through a distance in a certain amount of time. Speed limit signs are posted so that we will be reminded to not pack too much distance into too little time.

Most folks enjoy the concept of power, whether it be mechanical and physical or power of authority and position. So often, however, we lack much understanding of spiritual power, which is just as real and perhaps measurable as is physical power. Because it is above and far beyond the five physical senses, it is less obvious to the busy passerby.

The recipient of spiritual power is the person who has believed God’s Word and received Jesus Christ into their heart as personal Savior (John 1:12). They have become the spiritual son or daughter of God in an act of spiritual second birth. We are not born physically with this spiritual power but are given it as the gift of God. This power is never earned or merited by mankind. It must not be merely hoped for or worked for and is never bartered for in some trade-off deal with God. It arrives in the same instant that a person is saved from the penalty of their sin by trusting Jesus Christ as Savior – plus nothing of a hidden agenda or an earthly benefit.

The power that God gives to His child has a multitude of very practical applications, although they do not stand out in obvious ways, often until the life of faith has matured. Isaiah writes: “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength” (Isaiah 40:29). When we give God time and liberty to work in our hearts, He will manifest himself in our lives in unexpected but incredible ways. “But they that wait upon the
Lord shall renew their strength; they (the youth) shall mount up with wings as eagles; they (the adult Christian) shall run, and not be weary; and they (the mature in Christ) shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).

One of the not-so-obvious measurements of spiritual empowerment that only God can impart is the power to forgive others for the injustices done toward the true believer. Forgiveness is not found much in the vocabulary of human nature. Terms that better describe the natural man might be vengeance, wrath and grudge-bearing. When the child of God faces the truth, he or she better realizes the vast ocean of offenses that God, through Christ, has forgiven them. They are given power to have far less difficulty in forgiving others and no longer bear the burden of offenses that they “just cannot release.”

In a former day. Peter writes in his first book: “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble” (5:5). This power to humble ourselves and submit in subjection is nearly impossible outside of faith in Christ. It is so foreign to our makeup that most will battle against it quite often, even as Christians. At least, in Christ, we are given hope of forgiveness and victory in this potential stronghold of life.

The recipient of salvation is given power to flee temptation and renounce the “besetting” sin. God “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). The Christian is given a faithful Father who won’t “suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” and is now given a refuge place in Christ for protection!

Power is afforded to the believer for control of appetites and affections that are built into mankind. We need these God-given desires to be kept in their right places so that we may conduct our lives in ways that glorify our Creator instead of just our cravings. Intimacy kept within the marriage of a man and woman is a supreme example of the God-blessed design given to mankind, and the Christian is given greater power to live it God’s way and to enjoy the resultant blessings.

Power to think and act more on the behalf of others is an emphasis of God for His children. Romans 12:20 exhorts: “In honor preferring one another,” after which Paul lists nearly 25 more conversations of life which God enables in His children. They include virtues like patience, diligence in work, hospitality, honesty and living in peace with others. These are enhanced by trusting Jesus Christ.

Faith in Christ replaces the flimsy reliance that we once may have had in our just selves. The world view expands to open our thinking. Enablement is given to better understand our blessings. Hearts are opened to have an excellent spirit of thankfulness and contentedness. Hands are kept off of what does not belong to us, and lips are guarded to be careful what is said. We have Christ in mind as we now can respect and love other folks who do not look just like “our kind” looks.

The Christian is tempered by the awareness that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). This will be for the rewards (or loss thereof) of how we honored Christ as one of His children. Great accountability reminds us to live carefully. No person is a match with the power of Satan to ruin and destroy our lives. We must have the resources that only God makes available, and they come to us through faith in the shed blood of Christ.

Lewis E. Jones asks in his song:

Would you be free from the burden of sin?

Would you over evil a victory win?

Would you be free from your passion and pride?

Come for a cleansing to Calvary’s tide;

There is wonder working power in the blood!

Is there a measured difference in your life that evidences the power of God working in you? He wants that victory to be yours!

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.