Last week I shared things about sparkplugs, steam engines, and power issues.  Not technical stuff, per se, but how our energy levels as Christians can often get zapped and we’re left wondering what happened to our great plans.  This week, I’m taking those thoughts a bit further.

We’ve read often the verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)  But do we need to do “all things”?  Really?  I believe we may not have realized there is no need for us to wear ourselves out in constant churning to produce spiritual energy, IF we rely on the external force of energy that empowers us.  Paul explains in 2 Corin. 12:10, “When I am weak (in human strength), then I am (truly) strong…powerful, in divine strength.”

Not to get carried away with the analogy of internal and external energy, I still want to say that these forces can easily be applied to work done within the church walls as well as in our own personal lives.  It is really, really easy to work under our own power when we are doing what pastors, Sunday teachers, and lay volunteers do to keep a church vital, merciful and relative to those who come inside and especially to those who wander just outside the doors.

It is this work, when powered by the people instead of God, that often leads to the popular notion of “burnout.”  The personal engines of those involved seem to sputter, lose fuel and stop.  From that point on, not much really gets done.

Often I’ve wondered how many pastors there must be who’ve given inspiring sermons and then seen very few results.  One would imagine they have wondered where they had failed—was their preparation lacking, their delivery poor?  What was it they did or didn’t do?  Well, praise God they don’t have to depend on themselves and their small or great oratorical ability.  They need only depend on the fuel God provides for free—the power of the Holy Spirit.

That power is available to professional church leaders AND laypeople.  We suffer energy shortages when we don’t use the source of power God has already paid for, provided and piped into our souls!  Maybe we just need to plug in, hook up, open the valve, pull the ripcord–or whatever term you choose—to GET the fuel of God.

If you’re about to make a New Year’s Resolution to witness about your faith more, to care more for those around you, to harness your temper, or whatever…you get the drift, remember the power source for all your “spiritual work” does not come from you.  In fact, the job of powering God’s people was tasked by God the Father to God the Spirit.  It’s something we don’t even have to pray hard for!  It’s a given that if we ask, the Holy Spirit will act.

For your resolution this year, just remember the power to do God’s work can’t be taught.  It’s already inside of you!  All you need do is ask, don’t work at it.  Just ask for wisdom, clarity, sensitivity and willingness.  You’ll be surprised at all the places that seemingly pop up right in front of you and need you simply to “speak the truth in love.”

HAPPY New Year and may blessings abound in 2012!

by Cindy Best