There are two legs in our faith journey that are critically important.
The first leg is spiritual poverty. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt.5:3)
The default posture of the Christian is a heart that recognises our spiritual poverty. To recognise that without God, whatever we do would all be meaningless and empty.
Spiritual poverty is all about humility and holiness before God and before man. It is about complete reliance on the Lord in all we do.
It is about throwing out our own ambitions, our own desires and our own way of doing things. Instead, we seek God’s way, His desires and purposes.
Spiritual poverty is about stepping out of the way and letting God build His church.
If we build God’s church according to our wisdom and ways, at best the church would just be a great human institution. But if we build God’s church according to His revelation and desires, the church would be an inspiring worship movement, an authentic Christian community, an uncompromising centre of truth and a powerful missionary enterprise.
Spiritual poverty is knowing that we can do nothing significant on our own and it is about remembering that Jesus said, “I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” (Mt.16:18)
Without spiritual poverty, our faith is without substance and it leads to emptiness in the end.
While the first leg in our faith journey is spiritual poverty, the other leg is spiritual power.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,” (2Cor.10:3-5)
Spiritual power was at work within Peter when he preached on the Day of Pentecost and thousands were saved, when “everyone kept feeling a sense of awe and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles” (Ac.2:43).
It was the power of God at work in Peter when he said to the man who was lame from birth, “In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Ac.3:6) And it was also the power of God that brought conviction of sin so overwhelmingly that Ananias and Sapphira were struck dead.
Spiritual power was clearly evident when the believers prayed after the release of Peter and John and “the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness”. (Ac.4:31)
It was God’s power that made Stephen’s face shine like an angel when he was persecuted (Ac.6:15) and Philip’s ability to cast out demons, perform signs and great miracles which astonished the crowd was also the work of spiritual power (Ac.8:4-13).
The evidence of God’s power at work in the Early Church led to a revival – thousands were saved in the first ever Mega Church and wherever the early Christians went, they turned the world upside down (Ac.17:6).
At the same time, it brought upon the church severe persecution, many suffered and died gloriously for their faith. However, the blood of the saints was seed to the church as God’s church kept growing in power and in numbers not only in spite of the persecutions but also because of the persecutions.
The church today is in desperate need of God’s spiritual power, and we are in need of a revival!
If we labour in prayer more than we labour in programmes, if we seek God’s revelation instead of relying on our own cleverness, if our daily occupation is with the things above and not so much the things on earth, …..
….. if our leadership meetings are more about ministry than about administration, if we desire, hunger and pursue the things of God, if humility and holiness would be our priority, if we would cry out to the Lord in desperation, …..
….. surely, most surely, our God will come like a mighty wind, He will pour out His Spirit upon us, fill us with divine power and His church will return to our roots of preaching the gospel with power and the preaching will be accompanied by signs, wonders and miracles, the pulpit will once again be on fire!
And then, once again, the crowds will be astonished, the world will be turned upside down and thousands will be saved!
We need not only spiritual poverty, but also spiritual power.
While spiritual poverty keeps our hearts right before God, spiritual power keeps our hearts on fire – REVIVAL FIRE!