Your Power or God’s Power?

Acts 3: 12 When Peter saw this, he said to them: “Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?

I grew up playing soccer and love the sport.  However, I am often embarrassed by how elite soccer players conduct themselves, both in professional leagues and in international matches.  I cringe when I see a player barely touched, yet flying to the ground, flailing about as mortally wounded.  It hits home for me because many years ago my high school team lost our opportunity to make it to provincial (equivalent of state) championships because the opposing player took a dive in the penalty box after I cleanly took the ball.   Worst of all for me, however, is how many soccer players celebrate a goal.  A player can make an incredible run up the soccer pitch, elude multiple players, place a perfect cross in front of the net to a teammate who places an easy header into the net.  The scorer then runs away from his teammates, with his shirt over his head towards the stands and basks in the glory of the fans.  Give me a break.  The real playmaker was his teammate, yet rather than giving the credit to him, he runs from him and takes all the glory for himself.

Clearly athletes who behave like the one described above missed some basic parental training at an early age.  Perhaps if I run into one of those athletes I’ll share this article: “Ways Sports Can Teach Your Child to Give”  (https://web.usafootball.com/blogs/benefits-of-football/post/8628/7-ways-sports-can-teach-your-child-to-give-).  Two important lessons include: “Give Others the Spotlight or Credit” and “Give Thanks to Teammates”.  This is basic stuff, but clearly many elite athletes missed that class.

I was recently reading through the book of Acts and was struck by the stories.  In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples gathered in Jerusalem.  Suddenly they are filled with power from heaven and begin to perform miracles such as speaking the language of all foreign travellers to Jerusalem.  In Acts 3 Peter and John were on their way to the temple for prayer when they walked by a lame beggar (he had been lame since birth).  The beggar asked for money, but they offered him something better.  “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6).  The man was immediately healed and the people were astonished and marvelled at the disciples.

Imagine suddenly being filled with a super power.  Everyone around you sees what you are doing and you become an instant celebrity.  It would be extremely difficult to stay completely humble with this newfound power.  This is basically what happened to the disciples after the Holy Spirit came upon them.  The power of heaven fell upon them and they walked in the power of the Holy Spirit.  After Peter and John healed the lame man, the people were astonished and all came running to see the men who had done this thing.  But. “When Peter saw this, he said to them: ‘Fellow Israelites, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?’” (Acts 3:12) Peter and John recognized that God was accomplishing all of this and they were simply the tools that He was using.

How about you?  When God uses you to accomplish something miraculous or wonderful, how quickly do you point to the source of the miracle?  Any time you are being adulated, consider whether people see you as the source of the accomplishments.  Like the disciples, quickly give credit to God.

2 Comments

  1. Jason Tinsley says:

    I have a 6 year old son that loves sports. I found your website while looking for devotionals with a sports theme to share with him. Tonight we read “Your Power or God’s Power?” What a great message! We look forward to using these devotions with our son as he grows into a strong Christian young man.

    1. Roland Mechler says:

      Thanks for sharing Jason. God bless you for affirming your son’s God-given love of sport, and more so for choosing to point him to the true source of meaning in his life. Lord may you give Jason great wisdom over the next years as he walks this journey with his son. As he has said, may he “grow into a strong Christian young man”. Blessings brother! “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

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