Of the like five Simpsons episodes I’ve ever seen, I remember the one where Homer Simpson changes his name to “Max Power“. It was about wanting to change your identity, to become so much cooler than who you are. Homer believed that walking around with a moniker that bled awesomeness would make him more confident and successful than the bland name he’d been given at birth.
Recently, I’ve gotten more in touch with a great podcast from Antioch Community Church that is rekindling my desire for “Max Power” in my life. More specifically, Pastor Jimmy Seibert is reminding me that as a follower of Christ, the greatest power on Earth is available to us every single day, the power of the Holy Spirit. Some get carried away with the Spirit and become obsessed with the idea of miraculous spiritual power, focusing on it to the exclusion of other major areas of discipleship. Others ignore the idea of the miraculous activity of the Holy Spirit altogether. Usually, the latter is in favor of saying that the Holy Spirit’s activity ended when the Bible was canonized, as if publishing the Word of God was the final act of the Spirit of God.
I have been reminded this week that the Word and the Spirit work together in awesome and sometimes surprising ways. First, it is important recognize the supreme authority of God’s Word in all matters of faith and practice. It is the plumb line of truth and falsehood, of godliness and heresy. It is the source of spiritual truth, wherein God has invested the full potential of His grace, love, mercy, and truth. It is the truth that sets us free, the light for our path, and the sword which pierces every part of us. If any experience we attribute to God or His Spirit does not line up with His Word, it may be discarded as absolute rubbish.
Second, we need to know that God’s Spirit is still very much active today. I know this through theological understanding and practical experience. I have seen miracles which no scientist or doctor can explain. I have known men who have risen from the dead, seen injuries heal instantly, and have even seen food multiply. In the past I have told unbelieving friends that “if God doesn’t exist, then I must be absolutely insane” because I cannot explain these things without Him. Anyway, I know the Spirit is active, and that He is not restricted only to direct quotations of Scripture. The Spirit’s voice speaks to us today, in pictures, emotions, words, dreams, opportunities…in all these He draws us closer to Himself.
If we want to experience “Max Power” in our walk with God, we must be attuned both to His Word and His Spirit. I saw a picture of this earlier in the week. I’m disassembling a brick grill in my backyard right now, brick by brick. It sometimes is necessary to pry a brick loose from its moorings in the grill. When I pry, I use direct force but I also use leverage. You see, I don’t have a great deal of brute strength (I’m working on it, OK?), but I can use the power of leverage to do what strength alone can’t accomplish. I can apply direct force to the brick, but my leverage can magnify that force exponentially.
Here’s how I see it. When it comes to life change needed to set us free to fully and completely worship God, the Word of God supplies the direct force, and the Spirit of God supplies leverage. God’s power is vested into His Word and the Spirit directs us to apply His Word at just the right time, right place, and right person to work His maximum power. I think that’s why we can read the same Scripture passage ten times and walk away with ten different things…the Spirit speaks what we need to hear each time. He also speaks to us when someone else needs to hear His Word, too, allowing us to minister in His eternal power and not just out of our own temporal wisdom and experience.
Are you looking for “max power” in your life, just like Homer was? I think we need to be in the Word of God, taking it deep into our hearts through regular reading, study, and memorization. Then we need to listen to the Spirit of God give us a target and apply His force accordingly. We won’t always get it right, but I believe by practicing hearing the Word and delivering it to ourselves and others, His power will be at maximum in us.