On the piano in our church there is a lava lamp. People often wonder why its there. I mean, not something you think about walking into church. Lava lamp? Where are the lava lamps?! A long time ago we did a sermon series on the basics of our belief. On the week we focused on the Holy Spirit, we talked about being plugged into the Holy Spirit. The longer we are plugged in the more active the Spirit becomes. Paul talks about another way we can be empowered.
One more thing…
As we read 1 Timothy 1:12-13 we see that it’s not only the Holy Spirit that gives us power, but Jesus himself also gives us the strength that we need. Jesus doesn’t leave us on our own, but he is actively involved in helping us succeed in life. Some religious viewpoints see God as starting everything and walking away. Here Paul states the opposite, that Jesus is active in our life pursuits!
Paul starts out by thanking God for the strength given through Jesus. Gratitude is a key way to be plugged in. Whether things are going well or not we can see the hand of God at work in our life. We should be the most centered people because of that strength. Gratitude is the cement that allows the strength of God to hold.
It is important that we do not forget where we came from. Paul recognized how messed up he was and could be apart from Christ. But the amazing thing isn’t just that God saved Paul from his mess, but that Jesus went beyond that to help him! When we forget where we come from it should be a place of gratitude for God’s work and what God can do, not a time to wallow in guilt. This is part of the strength that God gives us! We don’t have to be held back by past guilt because the present work of Christ empowers us to be the best of ourselves!
The bottom line is that the mercy God provides in Jesus Christ empowers us to be a world changer. We are not talking about a nice feeling, but deep down in the core of our soul, God washes us clean. Jesus took on what we deserved and so God held back from punishing us. No matter our baggage, God can use us in incredible ways. He is not looking to hit us with a 2X4, because Jesus took that away. God is looking to empower us to make a difference.