The Power At Your Fingertips
If you were granted millions of dollars and told that you must “do good with it”, that if you spend it you can only spend it for the benefit of others, would you bother to spend it at all? For almost everyone, the answer to a question such as this is a resounding “YES”! We can all see negative elements in the world and we all believe money is powerful enough to make an impact. Without our hypothetical millions, of course, we still see the same harmful elements in our society. The question is do any of us have any other powerful tools at our disposal with which we can positively impact the world?
Or maybe the better question for a Christian is “given that you do have power at your fingertips, are you leveraging it to roll back the curse of sin in the world”? The money question above was hypothetical but as followers of God and believers in Jesus Christ, individual Christians really do have everyday tools possessing tremendous power available to us.
The first powerful tool in our kit is simply the Gospel message as told in the Bible.
For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Romans 10: 13 – 14 [ESV]
The power of Gospel saves souls and changes lives. Those proclaiming the Gospel message have been involved in all the transformative movements in modern history (the establishment of orphanages, democracy, the abolition of slavery, public education for all, civil rights) and continue to serve those in need around the world, rescue children from sex trafficking and more. When the Gospel is shared – even in the most basic way – it has the power to transform in ways that money never could.
In any list of the powerful tools available to Christians, prayer must take a prominent spot. In the letter of James in the Bible, the writer reminds us that the prayer of a Christian has power and is effective and impactful. All of the transformative initiatives listed in the previous paragraph were all undergirded with prayer. Prayer changes the one praying and that which is being prayed for. If we know someone who is struggling but don’t have the millions to give to them, we can certainly pray for them. And let them know that we are doing it. If there is an element of society that you know is harmful, a great place to begin your assault on that harm is through prayer.
Though it may not be as easy to wield as the previous two, forgiveness puts tremendous power in your hands as well! Here the power has as much healing force for you as for anyone. As a minister, I am always careful to note that biblical forgiveness does not mean that you are saying what was done to you was okay, nor are you saying that any legal consequences the person might face from the government have to be foregone. To forgive simply means that you do not personally desire to hurt the person who hurt you in the same manner in which you were hurt. It means you are giving up your right to personally “get even”.
It is true that many people never have remorse for the things they do wrong to others. But for those who do, for those who truly regret the mistakes they have made and the pain they have caused, knowing they are forgiven is incredibly powerful.
Finally, we all have the power of listening. As a minister, I encounter many situations in which I cannot honestly say “I know exactly how you feel”. There are just as many situations where there is no answer I can give to solve the problem or make the issue go away. But in every circumstance I can listen. Listening to others with a caring heart (not listening just enough to formulate what you want to say back) is THE most effective component of counseling. To those who have hit a rough patch in life, having someone to whom they can talk, someone who will honestly listen is more powerful than anything money can buy.
Andy’s book, Clear Vision: How The Bible Teaches Us To View The World, can be purchased here.