"Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord Almighty-you will succeed because of My Spirit, though you are few and weak."
- Zechariah 4:6 TLB
When my sons were in high school leading a Bible Club, there was a boy named Mark who began attending the weekly meetings with his older sister. He was painfully shy, and no matter how hard the kids in the club tried to get him to open up, Mark remained distant and detached. Nevertheless, Mark's sister kept bringing him to the meetings, and the students kept praying for him, and ministering to him with the Word of God. By the time Mark graduated, he had not only broken out of his shell, but he was reaching out to others with the love of God. Today, Mark is attending Bible college, and he plans on becoming a missionary, preaching the Gospel to the masses. Recently, my son John and I were talking about the boldness of some Christians, and I was awestruck when my son exclaimed, "We can't all be Marks!" That's when the full realization of Mark's transformation really hit home.
I have seen radical changes in people after they've given their lives to Christ. What made the difference? The power of the Holy Spirit. The disciples were a good example of this. When Jesus went to the cross, they all deserted Him, hiding themselves and cowering in fear. After the Savior's resurrection, He visited His disciples and told them: "I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49 NIV) Once these men received this power, they became effective witnesses for Christ, and they preached the Gospel boldly, even when it meant suffering dire consequences as a result.
All Christians have this same power and boldness available to them. And it's not only available to us to be effective witnesses for Christ, but to help us in our daily lives. We don't have to be timid when we use the telephone, when we have to return something we bought at the store, or when we need to confront someone about their behavior. The Bible says: "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT) And Proverbs 28:1 (NIV) says, "The righteous are as bold as a lion." When I began studying the Scriptures years ago, I was delighted to discover that we could pray for boldness, expecting God to answer. David wrote: "When I called, You answered me; You greatly emboldened me." (Psalm 138:3 NIV) The Book of Acts records that the disciples prayed, "Enable Your servants to speak Your word with great boldness." (Acts 4:29 NIV) And we're told that after they prayed, "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly." (Acts 4:31 NIV)
Besides praying for boldness, it's absolutely essential that we study the Scriptures to learn the truth about who we are in Christ. If we don't, we'll be easy targets for Satan's lies, which are designed to weaken us and prevent our progress. No matter what our call is as believers, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to help us fulfill our God-given purpose in this world. That's why Satan works so hard trying to make us feel afraid, timid, and insecure. If we will remember that we have been equipped to overcome obstacles, and to succeed in every area of our lives, we will be able to follow the Lord's leading with confidence.
The next time you face a challenge in your walk with God, remember His promise to you in Zechariah 4:6 NIV: "'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty." The Living Bible goes on to say, "You will succeed because of My Spirit." When God called you, He already knew you wouldn't be able to fulfill your call on your own. And you'd be wise to not even try. Today, it's my heartfelt prayer that you will learn to live your life relying on God's Spirit to give you the power, confidence, and holy boldness you need to become all He's called you to be, and to do all He's called you to do!
Prayer: Lord, teach me to walk in the fullness of Your Spirit's power, and to be the bold and effective witness You've called me to be. Help me to recognize and resist Satan's efforts to weaken and paralyze me. Thank You that as I rely on Your Spirit, I will glorify You with my success!
- J. M. Farro