By God's grace, I have walked with Christ for 45 years. I have seen a few things in that time. One of the things that still shocks me is how the enemy works to safeguard his kingdom of darkness by introducing a bias against true biblical Christianity. Any religion of works is okay if it keeps people from the real thing. When we grow up in a religious environment deprived of knowledge of what God has accomplished for us through the death and resurrection of Christ, we do not get an accurate picture. We are like the Superman comic stories of Clark Kent with Kryptonite wrapped around our minds keeping us from understanding our power. Every believer in Christ has incredible power at their disposal, but many do not see their potential in Christ. This lack of vision is an enemy tactic to keep God's people from walking in the power of our identity in Christ. When we do not understand our authority as God's children, we surrender that power and settle for lives far less than we could be experiencing.
We are like the landowner in Texas during the Great Depression who went through years of poverty only to discover that great oilfields were under his feet. However, I don't think his name was Jed Clampett (From Beverly Hillbillies, a popular sitcom in America). Great wealth and resources were on his land; he did not know it, but all he had to do was dig deep. As a pastor, I come across people I believe could be used much more than they are. Untapped potential is widespread in America. I have often thought about how useful it would be to get ordinary Christians to a different country where God is moving by His Spirit. I would like to see many launched into needy situations where, like eaglets, they are pushed out of the eagle’s nest by circumstances to depend on God’s Spirit to fly. What amazing stories there would be!
When I was just a young believer in my twenties and leading a house church, a pastor of a regular church in a town 30 miles from me was encouraged to invite me to speak at his evening service. When I arrived on his doorstep a couple of hours before the meeting, he was visibly shocked by how young and small I was. His chin hit the floor when he realized I was his guest speaker for the evening church service. He was surprised at my youth, saying, "but you are so young!" I replied, "I am trying to get old, but it takes time." Don't be put off thinking that God cannot use you because of your youth or lack of experience. Walking with God happens when we take one step at a time, and He can use whomever He chooses. David, Jeremiah, and Timothy were all young when God began using them. We tend to believe that God only uses the wise and knowledgeable, but it is not valid. God wants His power to flow through us, regardless of age or background. It's not about what we know or how much wisdom we have acquired; God loves to use those who are just babies in their new faith. Jesus said,
I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he (Matthew 11:11, Emphasis mine.)
I believe that the least in the kingdom of heaven refers to one who has just stepped into a relationship with Christ. One who knows very little about who they are and to whom they belong yet living within them is the Spirit of the Living God, the creator of the Universe. He who is least in the kingdom of God has incredible potential but does not yet know what they can do with that potential.
My prayer for the New Year is that we begin to dig deep in God and pray that God's Spirit will gush up and use us powerfully, like our analogy of the Texas landowner. Keith Thomas