ability to act or produce an effect. Merriam-Webster
“the ability of an individual or group to achieve their own goals or aims when others are trying to prevent them from realizing them” Max Weber
Power is basically an ability, but then there is what men call power and a show of it however it is different from how God defines it. Gone are the days when demonstration of power is limited to the kind shown by Elijah. Demonstration of power is no longer strictly by calling down fire or an Elisha healing a leprous Naman.
Demonstration of power now is more about revealing The Christ than it is about flexing muscles and levels parade.
Any Christian who thinks that the meaning of being a child of God is to call down fire or have people dead who run contrary to his or her will is yet to know who a child of God really is and what made them sons of God indeed.
If what brought you to believe in Jesus is power, if you’re not deceived then you need to understand how power is demonstrated in the kingdom.
Power is demonstrated in the kingdom by love and to love is to take risks. Jesus took the risk of having his love misunderstood, his person denigrated and his power taken for weakness . He went on to show his power and might when he took the most feared of risks known to man: dying a slow painful death.
That process of dying is not the show of power but his attitude during the process is.
Rewind to the time before Jesus‘ arrest. We know that the most powerful in the group usually is in control of the group, but Jesus‘ understanding of power is that such individual be the servant of every other member of the group. He showed his disciples how when he washed their feet.
Fast forward to the time he already resurrected. He promised that the disciples will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon them, and we can easily put into the mouth of Jesus what our bias on power assumes to power. We can assume that what Jesus meant is that when we have the Holy Spirit then we have dominion over sicknesses, demons and Satan. Bible stories seem to be against that assumption since there were exorcists around the time of the apostles who ‘don’t have the Holy Spirit’, at least the way Jesus promised, and even the disciples were doing wonders long before the Holy Spirit came upon them. Therefore it is clear what the power that comes with the coming of the Holy Spirit is for.
The power of the Holy Spirit is for witnessing not for working miracles. We can actually conclude safely that one don’t need the Holy Spirit to work miracles. Jesus didn’t mention the Holy Spirit as a requirement for casting out demons and even for the hilly and monstrous task of commanding mountain to be cast into the sea. He only mentioned faith as the requirement in that instance by the way. One thing that is clear is that Jesus never did any miracle just to flex his authority or power, he did them in response to people’s faith and out of compassion. He in fact didn’t connect working of miracles to power but to faith, in his own words, and to compassion, going by his attitude.
A good side attraction therefore is to mention that the Holy Spirit is not our problem solver. Maybe he helps solve our problems eventually, but that’s not what He does primarily. He is with us in trouble, reminding us of all Jesus said and want said. He ultimately serves as the flight to The Marriage Banquet of the Lamb.
The importance of that side attraction is that we may see clearly that there is nothing related to our natural understanding of power and its demonstration from the role the Holy Spirit is to play in the life of a believer. He is not a power drink nor a power tool that you grab when there’s a need for power display or as the occasion demands.
The Holy Spirit and the power He brings are to make us holy, which is the emphatic nature of God and His sons. He can help us heal the sick and raise the dead, but He may not. He may not because that’s not His major assignment and if He doesn’t, He hasn’t failed at all. But if we have Him and we are not holy, then we can say He has failed in His assignment. Holiness magnifies the Father and glorifies the Son. This is what Holy Spirit wants and the power He brings makes it happen. If healing the sick will achieve that end He will do it through us otherwise He sticks to the assignment of making us like the Son of God.
Becoming sons of God is power. Living the life of the Son of God is the demonstration of power. You may cast out demons, raise the dead, bless and people get blessed or curse and it comes to pass but without the living of a life consistent with the life of the Son of God you are powerless.