Why Does the Church Lack Power?

It’s Monday Grace!

I remember some teacher telling the story of a man who said he had worked hard all his life climbing the ladder of success only to find it was leaning on the wrong building. In other words, he spent his time, energy, and resources to achieve the wrong thing.

Imagine working hard on a project only to find that it wasn’t supposed to be done. Imagine traveling to a place where you were not supposed to be. Imagine investing your money in the wrong stock because you got the name wrong. We can invest a great deal of time and effort into wrong pursuits.

The problem, of course, is that they seem right. Somehow we got the wrong idea, that’s all. The work might have been exemplary. The motivation might have been sincere. The effort might have been diligent. But we worked on the wrong thing.

Why does the church lack power today? Some would point to our worldliness, the compromises we have made with the culture around us. Some would suggest a lack of faith or an unwillingness to sacrifice. But I think the church lacks power because it has focused on the wrong thing. Instead of looking to Jesus and building our relationship with Him, we have focused on what we think we are supposed to be doing for Him. Our work became more important than our relationship.

And that’s what most of us were taught. The performance message is about what we do, rather than what He has done. It is about our responsibility, rather than His gift of love. We have experienced our continual failure, rather than His victory.

Over the past few weeks, I have written about some hurtful things that happen in church or in Christian relationships. All of those things come out of this performance spirituality, the idea that our spiritual growth and position are ours to achieve and maintain. It’s all about us. But our inability to accomplish what performance spirituality requires makes us afraid and self-protective. That fear causes us to hurt others.

I believe the church could be the strongest force in this world, not through politics or moral warfare, but through love. We have a message that can change hearts and families and nations. We know the truth of God’s love in Jesus. We have the answer to sin’s power and influence. We have powers of healing and freedom and peace. The true message of the gospel brings life to the dead, welcome to the rejected, and home to the lost.

But the church was anchored to sin and flesh by this performance spirituality. Call it law or works or legalism or whatever, it holds us back from what could be accomplished. When Peter walked on water, the thought came to him that he shouldn’t be able to do that. Then he sank. When Ananias and Sapphira were moved to give, the thought came to them that they should hold something back to take care of themselves. Then they lost the blessing. When the disciples tried to heal the boy with the seizures, the thought came to them that they were inadequate. Then they failed. Performance spirituality moves the focus off what Jesus can do and puts it on what we can do.

Joy and peace and power come by understanding the grace of God in Jesus. He can do anything. Grace teaches us to look to Him and to trust in His love. When we believe that He loves us, apart from the things we do, then we can begin to see what He wants to do for us.

We will see miracles!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Why Does the Church Lack Power?

  1. Jeff

    In my humble opinion… the church has lost it’s flavor.
    Mathew 5:13
    “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
    Cannot speak of churches in other countries aside the well known pedophile problem that exists in the catholic church but the church here in America reminds me of nothing but a corrupt political agenda based on lies. Sad to see how institutions of faith are becoming tools of the devil. Lies are lies are lies.
    And Jesus told us who the father of all lies is…
    John 8:44
    You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
    Th spirit of discernment is upon us if we just choose to listen…

  2. Steve Adams

    Amen, Thank You 🙏

  3. I’m losing track of the days with every day being the same. Great post, a very timely word.

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