Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You Have No Idea!

[He] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

                        Ephesians 3.20

The Power Principle

Most of us know this proverb: “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” In essence, it equates the transmission of knowledge with the transfer of power. It’s also an apt metaphor for how following Christ works. As our knowledge of God increases, His power within us grows.

Slowly, through experience and study, we learn two things. It’s pointless to depend solely on our power. This reduces our circumstances to a human scale that plunges us into a battle of wits and endurance we may not be fully equipped to win. On the other hand, when we acknowledge God’s power in our lives, we set aside our desires and dreams to allow His plan to take effect. Inevitably, we realize His ideas are always better than ours.

Victims and Volunteers

While this sounds like Pollyanna optimism, there’s a big difference between living passively in denial and yielding right of way to God’s power. True Christians embrace reality at its best and worst. They see and feel with the same natural sense and sensibility as everyone else. But when they factor God’s power into the equation, it produces unnatural thinking and responses. They approach real life from a radically different—some even say totally unrealistic—angle.

Is it unrealistic? No, actually, how we manage our lives is many times more pragmatic and productive than running them without God’s power. For example, when I feel particularly put-upon or misused, my partner invariably reminds me, “Honey, in life there are no victims, only volunteers.” I hate hearing that, yet it corrects my course. We can’t control other people. But God gives us total power to reject rejection and conquer defeat. We must accept—and love—our enemies. Yet we’re not obligated to tolerate their abuse or respect their opinions. We don’t sign up for unnecessary suffering!

Ask… Imagine…

When faith activates God’s power in us, it also entitles us to ask for everything and imagine anything. Ephesians doesn’t say we’ll get it; in fact, it promises we won’t. Our needs and longings merely launch God’s creativity. He does immeasurably more than what we ask or imagine. We may overlook a nuance or miscalculate the obvious. He doesn’t miss a detail. You may think you know what He’s up to, but once His power kicks in, you have no idea how amazing and perfect His solution can be!

...and expect immeasurably more than that.

Personal Postscript: Who’s There?

This past weekend, a friend told me that a blog he regularly visits was closing. Apparently, the blogger was frustrated by so few comments. My friend decided to post a comment encouraging the blogger to soldier on. “But then the form came up and I bagged it.”

I sympathize with both sides. Often I want to chime in on blogs I visit—only to back out. At the same time, it’s an odd feeling, tossing out thoughts and never really knowing who’s catching them. It’s not essential to find out who drops by Straight-Friendly, of course. It was launched in faith, believing those who need it will find it. I am fully confident this will happen, if I never discover who they are or what they think.

Having said all this, though, if something here inspires or offends you, or if you’ve got an opinion, thought, or suggestion in general, please take the opportunity to express it. If you’re reluctant about commenting publicly, by all means drop me a line at:


Proverbs 27.17 tells us, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” As your comments and encouragement sharpen me, I know God will help me keep Straight-Friendly sharply focused.


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