Friday, November 23, 2012

Plugging In

My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.

-- 2 Corinthians 12:9

OK... It's a little embarrassing. But it's probably happened to everyone at least once. Maybe even twice.

You finally bought that expensive computer, fancy appliance or some other electrical device, and now it's home. You take it out of its box and set it up. Everything looks good-to-go. So with a bit of giddy anticipation, you finally flick the switch. And then...nothing.

You thought you had covered all the bases. So after frantically skimming the instructions manual for the fourth time, the next step is to call the customer service help line. But after 10 minutes on-hold, it finally dawns on you:

You forgot to plug it in.

If you forget the obvious and fail to connect your appliance to the power source, it becomes nothing more than an expensive, dust-collecting paperweight. And isn't that the perfect illustration of our spiritual lives? How many times have we been crushed by a seemingly impossible situation or gigantic challenge--only to look back and recall that we forgot to ask for God's help and guidance in the matter? The fact is that things fall apart when we're not filled with His power--the Holy Spirit.

Jesus illustrates this principle though the vital relationship between a vine (Him) and its branches (His followers):

"Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me," he explains. "I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. If you don't stay joined to me, you will be thrown away. You will be like dry branches that are gathered up and burned in a fire."

The problem is that we tend to hide behind the facade that we don't need anyone's help. Everything is OK, we say; all is right with the world.

But we know these words are false as soon as they pass from our lips. Rather than branching out alone and trying to be our own vine, we need to stay connected to the real God and acknowledge our own weaknesses...and invite the Spirit to be in control of our lives. It's this attitude of humility that puts us in position for God's power to fill and flow through us.

Paul, the unlikely missionary to the Gentiles who wrote much of the New Testament, not only understood this connection--he lived his life by it:

"...But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Feeling overwhelmed and helpless? Then now's time to reconnect with the One who can do all things when we plug into His Power. Because for us to be charged, He needs to be in charge.

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