Recently I saw a Facebook post saying something like:
“Watch out for people who are always bragging about what they can do, a lion never has to tell me that he is a lion.”
Of course, the thrust of the comment is that the lion does not have to advertise that it has power — its power is evident and well-known to others. Unlike the lion, however, often the people who are doing the bragging will be embellishing and exaggerating their status whereas people who actually have abilities or who have had accomplishments do not have to brag.
While in Yellowstone National Park recently, we were privileged enough to see a family of buffalo strolling down the road and into some trees. They were minding their own business, walking as a unit without being a threat to anyone and seemingly not aware of our presence. There were three adult buffalo and three young ones.
This baby buffalo is not particularly threatening. We saw him walking through some trees with two of his siblings and three adult buffalo.
Now, these two buffalo present a different picture than the baby did. They are not threatening as they are laying in the grass but staring at us while standing seemed to be potentially threatening. Especially when the National Park Ranger told us that adult buffalo weigh about 2,000 pounds. Combine that weight with an ability to run at 30 miles per hour, and you have a considerable threat both to man and vehicle.
Like the lion, the buffalo does not have to brag about its abilities. It can be calm and in control, and it can also be terrifyingly fast if it needs to defend itself or its family. In short, they are animals of great strength and speed – animals with underlying power that we as humans simply don’t have ourselves. We may be able to drive our car faster than the buffalo can run, but if the buffalo impacts the vehicle, it is probably going to be damaged beyond repair.
The lion and the buffalo have underlying power within themselves.
So, does the Christian. I don’t mean that we can run fast – anyone who knows me realizes that running at all is not likely going to happen. And I don’t necessarily mean that we have physical strength, although some people I know are incredibly strong.
What I do mean is that ALL Christians have underlying power within them, specifically the Holy Spirit sent by Jesus Christ so that we are enabled to be witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ wherever we are. Jesus said:
“But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.”
“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Again, after His resurrection, Jesus said:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
We know that the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and that same day they preached the gospel of Jesus Christ boldly. Fishermen and tax collectors who were cowering in fear after Jesus’s death were transformed on that day into evangelists who virtually blanketed the known world with the good news of faith in Christ.
They didn’t brag about their achievements. They gave the glory for what they were doing to Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit, praising God for the good works that they were seeing all in the name of the Lord. They were Christians who were powered by the Holy Spirit.
So are we. We have the same Holy Spirit, the same Lord Jesus Christ, the same God and Father Almighty. They are our brothers and sisters just as much as the Christians we see in church. We too have the Holy Spirit, and as part of the unchanging infinite triune God, the Holy Spirit is no different now than he was 2000 years ago.
Underlying power. Do I take advantage of the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life? Do I call upon His power to enable me to do the work that Christ has called me to do? Do I use that power for spreading the gospel? Do I boldly tell others of Jesus Christ or do I shrink back in fear of what they will say, or think?
What about you? How would you answer these questions?
Father, I pray that you would forgive me when I have failed to witness to others of Your marvelous gift of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. I pray that you would embolden me to witness of my Lord without fear and that Your Spirit would put the words in my mouth that will accomplish Your Work in those to whom I speak and in me as I do Your will.