Words are everywhere. As you read this post, you’ll be inundated with hundreds of words. Words allow us to communicate thoughts, ideas, messages, ideologies, beliefs, and reasoning. Without words we’d be unable to communicate and thus unable to collaborate, effectively do life together, or exchange knowledge. However, for all the positive things we can do with words, they can also be used for evil. With our words, we can boast in our limited knowledge, puff ourselves up with pride, and mock the God who created us.
Because of this ease and ability to use words in a variety of ways, words are cheap. In and of themselves they don’t hold much weight because they cannot be taken at face value. But words supported and followed up with action is a completely different story. Now these words carry meaning and are powerful because they are backed by action.
This is the point Paul is making when he talks with the Corinthians about the arrogant among them and their lofty and mighty sounding words. He warns them that he will come to Corinth and will examine these people, looking beyond the smooth words and searching for the power of their lives.
“Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.”
~1 Corinthians 4:18-20
The Greek word used here for “power” is dynamis, which is where we get our English word dynamite. I think that gives you a pretty good picture of the depth of meaning in this word. Paul isn’t referring to a subtle, inactive, or latent power. On the contrary, he’s referencing a type of power that is dynamic and can change the world. A type of power that when ignited will forever alter the lives of people.
This is the power that exists in the kingdom of God. While words are important in sharing the gospel, the real testimony is the power of God to change lives. Therefore, the life of a Christian should not only be marked by their words, but more importantly, by this dynamic power. Our words and talk should not be our defining characteristic, but rather a life that displays God’s power at work.
For this reason, we should ask ourselves the same question Paul posed to the Corinthians when faced with misguided, arrogant, or deceived believers. We should ask: where’s the power? If God’s kingdom consists in power, then the lives of Christian leaders and Christian churches should be filled not with empty talk but living and active power that changes lives. Why? Because this is how God operates.
So where’s the power? Where’s the power in your life? Is God’s explosive, life changing power at work in your life? Is your faith made known not just through words but also through actions?
Remember, words are cheap, but a life marked by God’s dynamic power can change the world. Therefore, let’s seek God’s power and not get caught up in winning arguments or making speeches, but always remember that God’s kingdom is not built on words but power.
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