4 Things That Prevent Jesus’ Power In Your Life
Today on the blog we welcome Erica Wiggenhorn, author of Unexplainable Jesus: Rediscovering the God You Thought You Knew.
4 Things That Prevent Jesus’ Power In Your Life- and a plan to get rid of them!
It’s so easy to look at another person’s social media account and assume they have it all together- quickly compare your jean’s size, living room décor, their kids’ blissful expressions in the highlight reel telling the world about another magnificent accomplishment and then assume that in comparison to them, you don’t measure up at all.
I love when David prays in Psalm 86 “Give me an undivided heart”. It’s such an accurate word picture of how my own heart often feels. I want to please God, but I also want people to look at my kids and think they are awesome. I want to be hospitable and welcoming, but I also want my home to look like a magazine. I want to love Jesus with my time and talents, but I also struggle with feeling like I’m always the one stuck doing it all.
Jesus continually directs us to examine our heart. In Luke 11, Jesus makes several startling statements that seem randomly mentioned, but in fact, they are all a call to look inside of our hearts.
One More Sign
Their demand for a sign seems so silly to me in light of all of the miracles Jesus was already doing around them each day. They wanted Jesus to give them some sort of personal, specific proof that He held power and authority. When I really take a look at what consumes my thoughts, however, I realize how constantly I am asking Jesus for a sign- not an outright, supernatural phenomena, but rather a heart attitude that continually demands Him to prove His care for me. My anxiety over my kids, my bank account, or the future reveals that I need another sign from Jesus before I choose to trust His plans for me- and I forfeit His powerful peace in my life.
The Good Eye
Jesus is actually quoting one of His contemporary teachers here. Rabbi Eleazer said, “The key to following a good path in life is to have a ‘good eye’- an open and generous nature. Judging others charitably. Being a good friend and a good neighbor. To receive every person with joy. The person with a bad eye has a possessive or envious heart.” Criticism and envy kill Jesus’ powerful joy in our lives.
From the Inside Out
Rabbi Hillel, another of Jesus’ contemporaries, taught that when any sort of vessel or cup was going to be used for ceremonial purposes, the inside of a cup should be washed before the outside. Jesus applies these instructions figuratively- meaning our heart must be cleansed before we concern ourselves with outward rituals. The word for “cleansed” in Aramaic is also the same word for charity. When we are generous toward others, we walk in joy. When we are more concerned with outward appearances than the inner condition of our heart, we become critical and angry.
Key to Knowledge
In Jesus’ day, less than ten percent of the population could read so people relied heavily upon their teachers to learn and understand Jewish Law. Their instruction, Jesus claimed, actually pushed people away from God. This is sobering. The question for us today is- does our pursuit of knowledge and sound doctrine result in many others entering the kingdom- or does it merely result in religious squabbling and senseless debate?
I’m not going to lie, these admonitions of Jesus were tough for me. I often disparage my children for behaviors that I myself exhibit. I spend more time looking around at what other people have than thanking God for what He has given me. I compare my accomplishments and abilities to others, complaining that I am not as creative, crafty, culinarily skilled, clever or cute as someone else. Then I just want to crumple in the corner and cease trying to accomplish anything. I insist any and all attempts would be better placed in someone else’s hands. I get self-absorbed. Jesus’ stern words snap me back into focus. Am I pursuing the kingdom or pettily protesting the stuff of earth? The Master is returning and this majestic King of Glory is going to invite me in, sit me down at the most magnificent feast ever known, and serve me.
What in the world?
So how do we allow Him to cleanse our hearts? It’s so simple it almost seems ridiculous. We bend our knees acknowledging He is in control, close our eyes to all of the comparison around us and pray David’s simple prayer, “Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your Name,” and the unexplainable power of His peace, joy, kindness and love begin to flood the dark places.
From: Unexplainable Jesus: Rediscovering the God You Thought You Knew, an 8 week Bible study on the Gospel of Luke from Moody Publishers.
Erica is the founder of Every Life Ministries, bringing the truths of Scripture to transform lives. She teaches in various local and national venues and serves on the women’s ministry leadership team for her church. She’s also taught women in the Arizona State Prison system, and overseas. She loves to bring God’s Word through Bible teaching, conferences, seminars and retreats. A graduate of Azusa Pacific University, Erica lives in Phoenix with her husband, Jonathan, and their two children, Eliana and Nathan.