“For the kingdom God does not consist in talk but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20, ESV)
Although I am a pastor in practice, I am classically trained as a scientist. Some find it an intriguing combination, while others do not understand how these seemingly disparate disciplines can exist together.
The dual perspective, though, gives me an appreciation and a perspective of life that sees the necessary and artistic intertwining of faith and knowledge. I look into the cosmos and I cannot help but be in awe of its majesty, while admiring the intricacies of general relativity defining its operation. I peer through the lens of a microscope and I am humbled at the complexity of life, while appreciating the biochemistry defining its interaction with its environment. I truly revel in the beauty of it all.
For me, faith and knowledge combine to conclude one thing: creation is the canvas of God’s miraculous artistry – a beautiful display of both the physical and supernatural. That which we examine with the eye compels us to see the architectural power of God’s imaginative mind. For a believer, then, physical realities simply describe the fruit of supernatural dynamics.
Because of this interrelationship between scientific fact and divine design, Christians find themselves naturally drawn to the supernatural underpinnings of the universe. We can’t help it. We recognize that God is Spirit. He speaks and universes come into being. He incarnates himself and walks among us. He heals us of our diseases, and restores our God-given identity. He fills us with His Spirit and dispenses supernatural gifts. Quite naturally, the miraculous is natural to our faith.
And so, when we read, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power,” (1 Corinthians 4:20, ESV) we may conclude things that may be unnatural to what the text is really saying. When we read these words, it is easy to translate “power” to mean supernatural ability. We naturally want to interpret these words to mean that the Lord has made available a supernatural resource to bring about miraculous change, just as we see throughout all of creation. Although we could prophetically extrapolate to this conclusion, the Apostle Paul is referring to a much more important and mundane application.
If we read the entire context around 1 Cor. 4:20, we see that Paul is not referring to God’s power to do supernatural works, but to God’s call to live a life consistent with His creative design. In other words, Paul admonishes the believers at Corinth to cease listening to teachers who like to philosophize about the meaning of unprovable things, and calls them to a disciplined life led and orchestrated by God’s Spirit. Paul is dealing with sin in the church, not their need to walk in signs and wonders.
This is why I feel compelled to write to you today—I hear the Lord imploring for us to hear! The universe is what it is because God spoke it into being. We are who we are because God wrote us into His design. But unlike the universe, we don’t have to submit to any laws governing our destiny. We can do as we please. We can actually give away our purpose and meaning. We can actually lose ourselves!
God calls out to us from the depths of the universe, “You are part of my design! Trust me. Believe in me. I have your best in mind. I love you!” The supernatural is far more about trusting than accomplishing something. Out of the supernatural cosmos, God seeded us with a purpose. Your only need then is to yield.
With these final words, I encourage you all: how you live matters! Sin is real; sin is a destroyer of dreams. Jesus did more than simply save you for heaven. He gave us the POWER to be restored – to be the prodigal that comes home and takes their rightful place in the house of God.
So… Love well. Seize your days. Create as much as you can.