Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Did you know you have super powers?
I grew up with comic books and cartoons which told of people with special powers. Peter Parker could spin webs and climb walls. He put on a red, blue, and black suit and called himself “Spider-Man”. He used his special powers for good and fought evil.
Similarly, Clark Kent could fly, was faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and could see through walls. He put on a red, blue, and yellow suit with the letter “S” on his chest and called himself “Superman”.
Whether they realize it or not, all children of God have an “S” on their chest. That “S” stands for “Spirit”.
In Galatians 4:6, the Apostle Paul tells us that, “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Colossians 1:27 says, “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” and Romans 8:11 tells us that His Spirit dwells in us.
Having the Spirit of Jesus Christ within us has an effect. It gives us special abilities that we did not have before and that others do not have.
First, having God’s Spirit within us gives us a spiritual mind and spiritual ears (I Corinthians 2:12). In man’s natural state he cannot receive or discern spiritual things; they are foolishness unto him (I Corinthians 2:14). So, the very ability to seek after and understand spiritual things is a divine power bestowed upon us by God. We have a special ability that those who are not born of God lack (John 8:42-47).
Jesus said repeatedly, “Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” How do we get the Spirit? How do we get these “spiritual ears”? It is a sovereign act of God upon His elect children (Romans 8:28-30). In John3 :7-8, Jesus tells us, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Again, Jesus says to “marvel not”. It’s not something you have control over; just as you had no control over your natural birth, you have no control over your spiritual birth. He basically says, “Don’t worry about it. It will happen at God’s appointed time if you’re one of His elect.” Besides, if you have an interest in whether or not you’re born again, it’s evidence that you already are born from above. After all, as we saw earlier, in a purely natural state you would not be interested in—nor able to understand—the things of God. You will not run into anyone who wants to spend eternity with God in Heaven but cannot, because the very fact that they have that desire is evidence they are of His flock (Psalms 110:3).
What other abilities does the Spirit give us? Let’s look at the holy scriptures. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” (Ephesians 3:20). This tells us that the very power of God to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think is at work within each of us. Stephen used that power when he was being stoned to death in Acts 7:59-60. Although he had just delivered a mighty sermon about our God, those without spiritual ears hated him for it and slew him wickedly. Did he fight back? Did he curse them and return evil for evil? No, my dear brothers and sisters. He did something that he could only have done with the power of God’s Spirit. He prayed that the Lord would not lay this sin to their charge. Wow!
In Acts 5, we read where Peter and the apostles were ordered not to teach in the name of Jesus. Nevertheless, they rightly decided to obey God rather than men. For this they were beaten and commanded once again not to speak in His name. At that point, a man in his natural state would likely rationalize that the best course of action would be to lay low and take heed to this command. But these men had “super powers” which enabled them to do something contrary to the natural course of action. They not only continued teaching and preaching Jesus Christ but they also rejoiced “that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name,” (Acts 5:41). How could someone rejoice at being beaten, threatened, and suffering shame? By the power of Almighty God, that’s how!
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” – I John 4:4
There are some hard teachings in Jesus’ sermon on the mount. Let’s look at both Matthew and Luke’s account.
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” – Matthew 5:43-47
“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” – Luke 6:27-35
A man in his natural state looks at these teachings and thinks, “That’s impossible! How in the world could someone be expected to do this?!” Again, the answer is:
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13
Notice the higher calling that a disciple of Christ has when compared to others in this world. Jesus says that if we love them that love us, so what?! Everybody does that! He says that if you smile, greet, or wave at folks that do the same to you, so what!? Everybody else does that! Children of God are expected to do more and are given the power to do so!
Do we loan out our possessions expecting to get them back? Do we get upset when we don’t get them back? We shouldn’t. By the Spirit implanted within us we’re given the ability (power) to not set our affection on things on this earth. Oh, that we might learn the lesson!
Dearest one, the powers you and I have are unique. They are special. God’s word tells us that there are wolves in sheeps’ clothing. But a wolf is not the same as a sheep, no matter how he dresses up. Anyone can put on a Superman costume, but if they jumped off a building they’d fall down and go SPLAT! Only Superman has Superman’s powers, and only a child of God’s has the Spirit and the powers that accompanies having Christ within you.
Are you using your powers?
In the movie Spider-Man 2, our hero decided that he was missing out on too much in his life by being Spider-Man. He tossed out his costume and decided to be like everyone else. But inside he wasn’t like everyone else, was he? When they walk around in their “secret identity” as Peter Parker and as Clark Kent, those men look like everyone else, but they are not. Similarly, a child of God is not like everyone else in the world even though he/she may appear to be so.
So what happened with Peter Parker? When he realized his mistake and finally decided to help someone in trouble, some of his abilities had faded. His powers weren’t what they once were because he hadn’t been using them. As children of God, we are told to exercise ourselves unto godliness (I Timothy 4:7). If we don’t, pretty soon we become more and more like everyone else in the world. Hebrews 2:1 tells us, “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” In the Apostle Peter’s writings in God’s word, he said two different times that he desired to put us in remembrance. We need our “daily bread”, my brothers and sisters. We need to exercise our faith. We need constant reminders, and we need to be thinking on spiritual things daily. In doing so, our powers will grow and we’ll be stronger in the Lord.
“…be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” Ephesians 6:10
The first Spider-Man movie contained the line, “With great power comes great responsibility.” The idea is that because he was “blest” with great powers, Peter Parker was to be self-sacrificing and use those powers for the greater good. This puts me in mind of Luke 12:48 (“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required,”) and also of the parable of the talents. It also puts us in mind of the divine powers God has given to us and whether we are using those for a greater good. Do we accept our great call, or do we put our “super hero suit” in the trash can and go about in this world like everyone else? When people look at us, do we shine forth (Matthew 5:16) like the colorful heroes in the comic books, or do we walk around in our “secret identities” so that no one can tell who we really are?
Brethren, we are called to, “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,” (II Corinthians 6:17). Followers of Jesus Christ have a high calling. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” (I Peter 2:9). “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness,” (I Thessalonians 5:5).
The very power of God is within us! Are we using it?