Mike Thorsteinson - South Seattle, Washington Gospel Meeting - 1988

I’d like to speak to you tonight about the power of God. People are often conscious of the need of power. A lot of people make New Years resolutions to try to change something about themselves. New Years resolutions are purposes in our heart. But, our human will is very, very weak, and it causes us to feel a desperate need for power.

We need power because we face an impossible heavenly standard of life. What Jesus has asked of us is too hard, if we don’t get power. We face an unseen, unprincipled foe that Jesus believed in and taught about, the devil. When we’re in his camp, we belong to him. We are either in the power of the ‘prince of the air’ or in Jesus’ power. In the parable of the sower, seed and soil, one of the kinds of soil it speaks about is the wayside soil, which represents a kind of person who doesn’t understand the Word of God when they hear it, and then Satan comes and immediately snatches away what they herd before they have a chance to understand it. It’s possible to have a Satanic visitation, or influence, that would come and take any godly purpose we might have. It’s one of Satan’s first lines of defense, to keep people from getting peace and power in their lives.

How do you get power in your life to change? It’s the changing of people’s attitudes, and the maintaining of their purpose that enables them. Some people get a feeling of acceleration and power riding in a fast motorcycle or automobile. There are different feelings of power people might seek: power of authority, power of influence, power of physical strength, or the power of tremendous stamina and endurance, etc.

One of the ways power comes into our lives is through a feeling of purpose. Something wells up in your heart and you think, “Oh, I’d like to be like Jesus!” He’s more than a new celebrity in your life. He becomes an example. Then there’s something there that accompanies purpose – initiative. Initiative is the ability to see a need and recognize the best way to fulfill that need … seeing the right time to do it … and then just going ahead, without anybody telling you. Someone said once, “If more students were self-starters, less teachers would be cranks." We know we should be reading and praying but the problem is getting around to it.

Power is often expressed in patience and endurance – the something that enables you to continue and finish something. We realize that every day in our life is not an “up” day, just a “common” day. God is anxious to give people power to live the Christ-filled life.

The power of God is evident in love. Love gives you more capacity than you’ve ever had to serve. Love thinks about everybody else. When power comes, it makes you love what you’re doing – it makes you see a cause greater than yourself.

Proof of power is the willingness to die to yourself. Christians are living for the interest and cause of Jesus. In Jesus there is a future. I’ll tell you 3 things, how to have the power of God:

1) Have the aim to become clay. Isaiah 64:8, “But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” The clay and potter illustration is always used to illustrate power. We are powerless. You are fashionable and you conform to whoever’s hands you are in. If we become as clay, we need to be soft. A lady just had gotten a perm and asked my companion how he liked it. He was really put on the spot and he just said, “I don’t.” She asked him why, and he said, “Because it makes you look hard.” She was kind of hurt but it did really make her look hard and she agreed it did. Do we recognize hardness in our spirit, attitudes, and dealings? If we can recognize hardness, we have the potential to be soft. If we’re like clay, we’re saying, “Here take my life, even though it’s not much.” Some people try to get all straightened up before they hand over their lives to Jesus, and they can’t. The power is in the Potter. When we become clay, He becomes the Master. Sometimes we struggle to get victory – we try so hard but it’s not until we become as clay that God can give us power. Otherwise, if we could get victory in some self-help class, we’d glory in ourselves; this other way, the glory goes to God.

2) In the exposing of your heart, the power comes. Mark 3:1-5, “' … stretch forth thy hand.' And he stretched it out and his hand was restored whole as the other.” He was willing to identify his real condition. There were some real critical people in the audience, though. Some people think, “If I can’t do anything great, there’s no point in doing anything little.” We could be thinking the same thing as we are approaching God. When the gospel is preached, sometimes people see only themselves in all their failings and they feel that there’s no reason to even try anymore. Why do we do that in a spiritual way? It is important to see yourself as Jesus sees you. He didn’t think you were junk! He spent Himself for you and me! You could make unwise judgments if you underestimate your worth.

3) This power doesn’t come like a button on a tape deck. Sometimes it comes in power to control your thinking, and power to focus your attention on things that are good. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall have rest unto your souls, for My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” Sometimes people think that the yoke is like stocks, like they put the pilgrims’ heads in, and every person who entered into it was rendered powerless. A yoke is different; it is a picture of power. A yoke enabled an animal to carry a balanced burden and it multiplied the power. If a person is in the yoke with Jesus it makes possible a life of channeling your life into all kinds of blessings, instead of being abused like they were in the stocks. There’s power to change and help us develop and grow. Sometimes power comes to us and we don’t realize where it came from!