Right before World War II, the city of Pasadena was having its annual Rose Parade. The float that was entered by the Standard Oil Company was covered with American Beauty roses. It was a sight to behold. The theme of the parade was, “Be prepared.” Right in the middle of the parade the Standard Oil Company’s float ran out of gas. It stopped right where I was viewing the parade.
I couldn’t help but laugh. If there was one float that should not have run out of gas, it was that one. Standard Oil Company should have had plenty of gas! As I looked at the float, I saw a picture of many Christians today. They are beautiful, but they have no power in their lives. They have beauty and prestige, but no power.
How right Dr. McGee was! And how sad that he was right! For it need not be this way.
In some of His last words to His followers before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus Christ gave this promise (in the New Testament Book of Acts, chapter 1, verse 8):
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
The Koine (or Common) Greek term used here in the ancient texts for the word translated as “power” is the term “dynamai”. Our modern English derivative is the word “dynamite”. In the original language, the word meant “power to achieve something, specifically by applying divine abilities to the endeavor.”
What God is telling us is that there is much we can do in His power that we cannot do in our own strength. I can only imagine the chagrin of the Standard Oil Company employees when they found themselves with a large an impressive float that they simply could not budge one inch. And yet, with the application of a mere gallon of gasoline, it could easily have been moved forward for quite some distance!
In a similar way, the Lord has promised us His power. And yet, while this power is available, it is not automatic. The Bible (in the Apostle Paul’s First New Testament Letter to the Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 19) makes plain that we can indeed “quench” the Spirit of God in our lives. Ways in which this can be done include deliberate sinfulness and/or self-reliance in the lives of believers.
And so, my friend, before you set off on the busy parade route of life, make certain that you have followed the Biblical admonition to be filled with the Spirit (as the Apostle Paul says in his New Testament Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 5, verse 18). For without God's empowerment, you’re just not likely to get very far in life!
STORY SOURCE: J. Vernon McGee Through the Bible with J. Vernon McGee (Nashville: Thomas Nelson; 1984).
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