To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col. 1:27, NIV
Sometimes we pray for God to give us more Holy Spirit power. This is a prayer that God will not answer; in fact, it is an unanswerable prayer.
We know that in Jesus Christ the fullness of the Godhead lives [Col. 2:9]. We also know that Jesus lives in us. That means since Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, living in us, the fullness of the Godhead also lives in us. God cannot give us more power because we already have it all inside of us!
When we pray this unanswerable prayer, what we really mean is that we want to see a greater expression or release of His power throughout lives. What is stopping it?
The Holy Spirit is like a mighty River of Life flowing down. Our lives are designed like a a dam holding this River back. Our first response is often, “Let’s blow up this dam and let the River flow freely.” However, that is not the wise response. I am sure we have all seen or heard of people whose lives have been shipwrecked because they did not know how to correctly handle the power of God.
I remember hearing of one minister tell how he was visiting someone in a hospital room. He had the strong impression that if he prayed for her, she would be healed. Nevertheless, he also felt God saying not to do it. Although he was obedient, this confused and hurt him. Sometime later God explained to him that at that time he was not yet able to handle the power of God at that level. He could have healed the woman, but he would have destroyed his ministry.
God has placed us as a “dam” across the River of Life not to deprive us or others, but because no one is able to handle the full Power of God except God Himself.
But, like all dams, there are multiple gates that can be closed or in various open positions to regulate how much water is able to come through. Too little will cause drought, too much will cause flood, the right amount will bring life.
Interestingly, God has trusted us with the choice of how much to open these gates. So what regulates how much of the River of Life flows through us?
From God’s perspective, He wants the River of Life to flow freely up to our ability to properly handle it and channel it to others for the glory of Jesus Christ and the expansion of His Kingdom. He is constantly at work in our lives to increase our capacity. Trials and difficulties are two of His tools that we do not like, but are often necessary to get those gates open wider.
From our perspective, it is a matter of faith, of truly believing that God is able and willing to let His love and power flow through us. Many times we believe this in theory [head knowledge], but struggle with it in practical application. Our faith may be hindered through unbelief, unforsaken or unconfessed sin, negative experiences, or wrong priorities. I believe it was Tozer who said, “Every man is as close to God as he wants to be…” meaning that through our actions and priorities we are as close to God as we are willing to be. Sometimes we are just not willing to pay the cost in self-sacrifice and obedience that is required. It is as we are willing to let self go and release faith that we are able to open our gates more and more. It is the path of discipleship. We are only willing to go part way, to give part of ourselves, but that will not work if the life-giving River of the Holy Spirit is to flow through us at optimal levels.
So our challenge is not getting more power, but being willing to pay the cost of releasing it.