If God is your partner, make your plans BIG!—D.L. Moody
Carrie Underwood’s song, Jesus Take the Wheel, topped the charts. Why did these lyrics strike a chord with listeners? Could it be because we want to believe when the going gets tough, we can turn things over to a higher power to rescue us? If God is so wise and powerful, why do we ask Him to sit in the passenger seat while we drive? Why do we wait until we can’t handle things to ask Him to take the wheel?
When confronted with impending peril, it has been reported both the faithful and faithless cry out to God, hoping for a manifestation of His power. Certainly this was the case with the disciples in the storm. We are going to look at them off and on in our study. Here I want to point out that Jesus (all power) was on board. They didn’t wake Him and ask Him to steer. They woke Him because they were irritated they were struggling and He was sleeping. They wanted Him to get up and help them with their plan: bailing water. Of course, we know how the story goes: His ways and plans were just nothing like theirs. He simply spoke and stopped the wind and waves, and they sailed safely to shore. I can picture Him wiping His hands, saying, “Done!” as they stood in amazement. The Bible actually records that they were virtually scared to death. Who was this man who commanded the elements? Get ready. If you ask Him to show up with His power, the outcome won’t be anything you had in mind. You are going to be overwhelmingly amazed at His power at work in you. Like Peter, when He bids you to come in His power, you’ll walk on water.
As we get started, use your notebook and let’s tackle some hard questions (you can be honest because only God and you will know what you write down):
- When do you cry out for God to show up in your life?
- Do you wait for a crisis or walk so closely with Him that there is an easy expectation He is ready to work on your behalf?
- Is the essence of your prayer time a recitation of all the things you want God to do for you, preferably with the outcome you have envisioned?
- Do you ask God to help you with your plans or do you seek to have Him fulfill His plan for your life?
- Does letting go of your plans for His purpose scare you?
- Do you seek and actually expect to see God’s power in your daily life?
Unfortunately, most of us tackle each day in our own strength. We set goals we feel we can reach if we apply ourselves. We tackle problems for which we either know or feel we can find the answer. Unfortunately, we are happy to have God ride along with us, but we prefer to drive: at a safe speed, and on a familiar road.
The safe road certainly has some merit; but as God’s children, we have access to His power. He tells us He can do exceedingly, abundantly more than we even ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). He also says we have not because we don’t ask; and when we do ask, we ask for the wrong purposes (James 4:3). For most of my life, I’m ashamed to admit James described me. Does he describe you, too?
I asked around, “Would you say that you have experienced the power of God in your life?” The majority recited times they had experienced the goodness of God; however, when pressed, they could not say they had personally experienced the power of God. Many could tell stories of seeing the power of God manifested in the lives of others, particularly Bible characters.
One friend shared a moving story of how God had rescued her from an abusive situation. She had felt His presence poignantly, experiencing Him truly rescue her from the jaws of death. Through tears she testified of His power in her life. As she finished her story, she looked up at me and said, “Now that I know He is truly real and have seen His power, I want to experience His presence and power every day. My heart longs to know Him more, to feel His presence, and to experience His power in a sustained way in my life: not because I need rescuing, but because He is working in and through me.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. She just described my longing heart. I’m assuming she described your heart as well. In my work in recovery, I learned the first step is to acknowledge you need help. The second step is to acknowledge God is your source. These actions place you in the exact right spot, a place of humility that prepares you for the change ahead. So in humility before Him is the right place for us to begin this journey: knowing we need His help, knowing our way isn’t working, and trusting Him to show us His way.
If you have experienced the power of God in your life, you don’t want it to be a one-and-done sort of thing. Doing things you know are impossible for you is good, very good. It’s as if you have joined Peter as you walk on deep waters. Your heart begins to pant after Him. I can identify with Paul who was compelled to run the race for the high calling of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:14). When He answered my plea and let me catch a glimpse of His power, He also planted a desire in my heart to know Him fully. He gave me a desire to know Him, to understand His wisdom and His power, and to find a way to live in that sweet spot every day.
As we learned, Jeremiah 29:11 explains God has a plan for our lives and Ephesians 3:20 assures us He is up to any task. Indeed, He is indeed able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine, according to His power that works within us. Have you unleashed the power of God to work in your life? Are you tired of your way and ready to see His plan? If not, why not? Is it because you don’t know how to do so or because you like control? Do you want to sit in the driver’s seat?
Peter, James and John didn’t really understand who Jesus truly was. Then one day, on a mount, He was transfigured right before their eyes. The Apostle Paul also saw Him on the Damascus road. When confronted with the glory of God, none of these men were ever the same. Why did Jesus hold back the veil so they could see Him, His glory, and His power? Seeing Jesus for who He is will change us completely. What about you? Are you ready to see Him work in your life? He says if we seek Him with our whole heart, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). So spend some time on your knees asking Him, as Moses did, to reveal Himself to you. He answers prayer.
Light takes a power source. Candles need fire, light bulbs and lamps need electricity, a flashlight needs a battery, a gas fireplace needs gas, and fireworks need explosives. Unfortunately, most of us spend our lives assuming we can light up the world all by ourselves if we just work harder or smarter. This is man’s way. As human beings, we might make a name for ourselves in this old world. However, I can tell you from experience, those trophies and certificates lose their luster and make great dust catchers. They are recognition of a job well done from a worldly perspective. They dazzle and distract our attention for a season, but they don’t add up to a radiant life.
If you are looking for ways to obtain worldly accolades, unsubscribe to my blog now. We aren’t seeking an ordinary light. We are seeking light for our lives that is powered by the Almighty, and His ways are not man’s ways (Isaiah 55:8). We want our lives to shine radiantly, like the noonday sun (Psalm 37). We are asking the Great I Am to take this vessel of ours and turn it into something spectacular for His glory.
If you want to activate His power to fuel your life, let’s start with a primer on God’s power for He is our source. We are going to tackle a little theology. Don’t be frightened: it simply means the study of God. So we’ll start with the basics. I learn and retain information if I can see it visually; you’ll love the chart.