Do remember studying potential versus kinetic energy in your high school physics or other science class? If you don’t recall, here’s a little refresher:
Potential Energy is the stored energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position or state.
Kinetic Energy is possessed by a body by virtue of its movement. While kinetic energy of an object is relative to the state of other objects in its environment, potential energy is completely independent of its environment.
I couldn’t help but relate this to the power we have within us through the indwelling Holy Spirit and whether it just remains potential energy (power) or becomes kinetic energy as we utilize that power in the environment in which God places us. After His resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days on earth before ascending back to heaven. On the day of His ascension, Luke records this: “And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard from Me’” (Acts 1:4). Jesus was referring to the promise that when He left, God the Holy Spirit would come: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you (in the person of Christ), and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (Jn. 14:16-18). In His “Upper Room Discourse” just before His arrest, trial and crucifixion Jesus told His disciples He was leaving (Jn. 14:3) and then told them that because He was going (back) to the Father, they would do greater works than He had done while on earth (v. 12). How could that possibly be? (And I’m sure they were thinking of all His amazing miracles.) It would be because the Holy Spirit would come to live in and empower them. The greater works wouldn’t be physical miracles so much as it was taking the Gospel to the far corners of the world and seeing lives transformed by its power (Ro. 1:16). That is why Jesus went on to say, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (the Holy spirit) shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you” (Jn. 16:7). So, just before His ascension, Jesus commanded His disciples not to leave Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came, saying: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1: 8). Ten days later, on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to indwell them and what a change took place in their lives. From hiding out in fear, discouragement and confusion, they became bold witnesses, telling of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and how He died for the sins of the world and how people can be forgiven and have eternal life by trusting in Him. Peter, who had denied the Lord three times during the trial, became a bold preacher for Christ and ended up giving his life. In fact all of the apostles except John were martyred for their faith. How can we explain the transformation that took place except by the power they now had through the Holy Spirit who came to live in them.
One of the great doctrines of Christianity is the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, who lives in the heart of each person who has trusted Christ for salvation (Ro. 8:9; I Cor. 6:19). And, since God is one (Dt. 6:4) and the fullness of the Triune Godhead dwells in each member of the Godhead, through the Holy Spirit we have God the Father and God the Son dwelling in us as well. We have been filled up with “all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). Remember what Jesus promised His disciples as recorded by the Apostle John: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and WE will come to him, and make Our abode with him” (Jn. 14:23). With that in mind, note Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers: “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ, that you may be filled up with all fullness of God. Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:16-21).
Wow, just think of what Paul was saying: “that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God!” What a wonderful privilege—but what an awesome responsibility! Why does God share His power with us? So that we can build great churches for our own glory? So that we can boast of our own achievements? NO! Paul ended his prayer with: “to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.” The Spirit of God was given to glorify the Son of God (cf Jn. 16:;14). The church on earth is here to glorify the Son of God. And for this, the power of the Spirit within us is not a luxury—it is a necessity. And what we do in His power today will glorify Christ “to all generations forever.” We have amazing power within us to work for His glory. Sadly, to many Christians it just remains as potential energy completely independent of its environment, like batteries in an unused flashlight. It is to be turned into kinetic energy, where it “relates to the state of other objects in its environment.” We need to use the power of the batteries to “let our light shine in such a way that others may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 5:16). We are to “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12,13). We can’t work for our salvation—it is a gift of God’s grace (Eph. 2:8,9)—but we are to work it out, i.e., grow up in our salvation and make Christ known to others. Paul was a great example for us: “And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Col. 1:29). Paul turned all that potential energy of Christ within Him, into kinetic energy in his aggressive service for the Lord.
How about you. How much of the power within you is becoming available to those around you as you interact with them, sharing the love and forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever.