“For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”
1 Corinthians 4:20
This was not looking good.
The lecturer was 12 minutes into the session, and still talking about himself as an introduction.
It’s cool to have credentials. Even cooler to have interesting life experiences and expertise to share.
But not cool to go on and on about them.
Blah, blah, blah…
I tuned out. I was partway through a fascinating inner exploration into what I should make for supper the next day when I became aware that something had changed.
The feeling in the audience had shifted. A few snickers broke out in pockets around the room.
Must have missed something.
I tried to tune in again, but I had missed it. The moment was gone. The presentation dragged on.
Maybe I should marinate some pork chops and serve them with a nice salad…
Sometimes a training session is just a lot of hot air.
In contrast, a presenter with before and after pics of dramatic weight loss, or proof of a transformation from homelessness to prosperity – a life scooped from the gutter and redeemed – that has some clout.
You used to live in a constant drunken stupor to forget your pain, you say? And now here you are – sober and raising a young family to serve and love others who are hurting?
Abandoned at birth, adopted by a gang and hooked on meth, in and out of group homes and the prison system, now running a successful non-profit that retrains youth and gets them off the street?
The dramatic stories of a life transformed by God’s forgiveness and love always get to me.
But they don’t have to be dramatic to demonstrate God’s power in a life.
Some of us were angry and bitter, and now have tasted forgiveness. Some of us were bulimic or anorexic and are learning to love the skin we’re in. Others never experienced acceptance at home, and are connecting in a new way to God as Father. Still others were liars or had too many walls to allow others close, or grew up as judgemental Pharisees and are tasting grace for the first time.
For too many around the world, the label ‘Christian’ is just that – a label. A word to toss around, a name to hide behind.
Blah, blah, blah.
For others, it’s not just words.
It’s meeting a Saviour and falling in love with One who loves and gives and resurrects and rolls away stones.
It’s the power to live like He did – being real with sin and calling out injustice and raising the dead things inside us that grew out of pain and disappointment and failure. It’s the jaw-dropping welcome as you are – and being loved too well to be left that way. It’s seeing the outcast and deconstructing the system that keeps us pinned in boxes others create. It’s radical love, extravagant acceptance, deep belonging.
It’s not just a lot of talk. Empty words. Hot air.
I’m still learning. I have days when I choose not to live fully alive – or days where pain and wounds won’t let me.
But I’ve tasted enough of this transforming power to know I want more.
Dare to live by God’s power with me?
Father, how amazing it is that Your agenda includes meeting me where I’m at and transforming me into a new creation! Thank You for the power to live for You as I ought – help me to take hold of it daily and continue walking into the full healing and radical change You have in store for me. Amen.