“My power is My love,” spoke the Lord.
We owned next to nothing. Anna and I arrived in Indiana to begin our first pastorate in 1956 with everything we possessed packed in our car. Soon after, a precious couple who were moving away gave us some furniture, including a big overstuffed chair. That chair was probably worth very few dollars, but it meant a great deal to us because we had so little. It was also special to me because it was while I was praying at the chair one morning that the Lord taught me something so basic, yet so profound, that it became a primary source of His input in shaping my ministry.
I was a young pastor, twenty-three years old, and like any passionate leader, I wanted to see God’s power and purpose in our congregation, and in the city where we were ministering. By most assessments, nothing remarkable took place during the learning process of those first four years in that Indiana pastorate. Yet this encounter was among those things that the Holy Spirit’s “fire” welded into my spirit during that time.
It happened early one morning while I was on my knees, using that great big overstuffed chair as my prayer altar. I was passionately praying and seeking God—forcibly calling out to Him with an earnestness that included beating on the back of the chair.
“Lord,” I cried, “I want You to move by Your power! O God! Move! Move by Your power!”
Each time I said the word “power,” I punctuated my intercessory heart cry with a blow to the back of the chair-pounding it vigorously as I vented my desire for revival, for miracles, for anything to shake up the status quo. Our little congregation needed God’s visitation, and so did our town. (I was absolutely serious, but looking back at that moment, I have to admit that it’s a wonder I didn’t choke on the cloud of dust my “beating” was giving rise to out of that very old chair.)
After I had prayed so intensely and vociferously for several minutes, I stopped, catching my breath, and simply bowed my head—burying my face in the cushion of the chair. I became still and, in the quiet of that moment, I heard something in its stillness. The whisper was clear, the gentleness of it without rebuke; God was not trivializing or mocking my passion. But the message was clear and the lesson unforgettable.
“My power is My love.”
That was the entirety of the “word” the Holy Spirit spoke to me that day, as a young leader’s heart cry for God’s power was defined with a breadth I have never forgotten. It did not shift me away from a passion for His demonstrative workings, but it did remind me that His “power” isn’t ever to be defined by miracles, wonders, signs, or demonstrations of His might alone. I was drawn back to the true source of God’s power-His love.
Love is the very nature of God; it is at the heart of the redemptive grace by which His Kingdom advances. It is because “God so loved the world” that He sacrificed His own Son to redeem it-to recover your life and mine from the hopeless destiny of sin to the fullness of His purpose and glory.
His love reminds us that God values each one of us in a way that we cannot comprehend. At the same time, God desires that His power be manifested through us as we live out His love toward one another—in graciousness, in gentleness, in unselfish consideration for others, and in forgiveness toward those who have been unloving to us. These “signs and wonders” are the fountainhead whose mighty streams are key to unlocking all of the “breakthrough” dynamics we cry out for-those things we tend to isolate as the displays of His power. Love that is manifest in our actions, words, and lives is ultimately our most powerful and winsome tool to break through darkness or bondage, and to draw people unto the Savior.
The realization of every hope that you or I hold dear—for our families, our ministries, our communities, and for the return of our Savior-is founded in prayer, grounded in His Word, and above all, released through the life-giving power of God’s great love.
Copyright 2007, 2011 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries
Further your study with these related resources:
The Fullness of Forgiveness (CD Album)
Seeing the Heart of God (CD Album)
Living the Spirit-Formed Life (Softcover Book)
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