Humorous stories about computer use abound:
- Someone who held a document up to the computer screen, thinking the monitor would somehow scan and fax it.
- Someone using their CD-ROM drive as a cup holder.
- Someone frustrated when unable to find the “any” key (as in “strike any key”).
- Someone picking up the mouse, pointing it at the computer screen and clicking it, as if it were a remote control.
But the story (could it be true?) of the woman who experienced trouble with WordPerfect tops it all. The woman, talking to a service rep in a long conversation, apparently forgot that even a computer needs power in a power outage. He reportedly advised her to pack up her computer and ship it back because, given her cluelessness, she’d never understand anything about a computer anyway!
Unfortunately, power outages don’t give us warnings. They just happen at the most inopportune times.
I stayed at my son’s house in July while our home was being tented for termites, and my son and his family were on vacation. We joked that “Hotel Wilson” was nicer than any hotel we knew, with so many amenities.
Wanting to save them some money, I decided to plug in a floor fan instead of running the air conditioner. Right after I plugged in the fan, the fuse blew.
“Oh, no! No power!”
It turned out the power went out in the entire housing complex right at that very moment. I told people I did it with my little fan.
Because I was dead in the water for most of the things I wanted to do that required electricity, I sat down to write a blog post with paper and pen.
I thought back to times I’ve tried to do things in my own power. The results aren’t usually as dramatic as blowing a fuse, but they can be just as life altering. Someone asked me recently, “Do you have any regrets at this point in life?”
Some of my biggest regrets are the times – far too many to count – I did things in my own power, my own flesh, instead of relying on the power of God.
I believe these are some of Christians’ works that will burn up (poof) at the Bema Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). (Note: Our works do not determine our salvation in Christ; they are our service to Him – Ephesians 2:9-10.) Burned up will be not only things done for the wrong motives or for our own glory, but also those works done in the power of the flesh– in other words, when we are plugged into our own power and not the power of God.
What does plugging into our own power look like?
2. Foolishness. When we depend on our own wisdom, we often make foolish choices. We don’t have Spirit-led discernment (1 Corinthians 2:14).
3. Bondage. The power of the flesh leaves us enslaved to and serving ourselves. Galatians 5:1 says, “… with freedom did Christ set us free.” Why do we run back to living in the flesh; it will only reap “corruption” (Galatians 6:8).
4. Weariness. We get overly tired when we are operating in our own power (vs. the strength we get in Christ, Philippians 4:13). (It’s like an unplugged laptop that drains the battery until the power is gone. How much better to plug into God’s unfailing power plant!)
5. Faithlessness. This is self-trust rather than trusting in God. In Matthew 13:58, Jesus did not do many miracles of power because of the people’s lack of faith.
6. Self-sufficiency. We think we can do everything through sheer willpower, but our sufficiency is truly in God (2 Corinthians 3:5).
7. Carnality. We have carnal appetites and responses; we act more like spoiled children than mature Christian adults (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
8. Temporary fruit. Yes, we can accomplish many things, but lasting fruit comes when we trust and rest in (abide in) Christ (John 15:4-5, 8).
Although we may think we are achieving great things in our own power, we are only fooling ourselves. As Stephen L Pogue says, “Trying to live the Christian life on your own efforts is as futile as trying to get around town by pushing your car.”
Paul says, “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:3). It’s just plain foolish to trust in our own power, but how often it’s our fall-back position. We need to remember to plug in to the power source that will never fail – God in us through the Holy Spirit. When we are plugged into His inexhaustible resources, we will be dynamic, vigorous, and effective.
Jesus said we would receive God’s power (John 16:7; Acts 1:8). Later, Paul said, “I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great His power is to help those who believe in Him” and “Your strength must come from the mighty power of God in you”(Ephesians 1:19; 6:10 TLB). This is Jesus’ resurrection power alive in us (Galatians 2:20).
Remember: If we are not plugged in to the right power source, we can expect power outages.
How about you? Are you plugging into your own power, or the all-powerful creator God?