dunamis

by Elizabeth de Barros

To truly live,

we must walk in the

power of the resurrection.

Evidence to the Contrary, Genie Maples, 44 x 44 oil on canvas

____________

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened

in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you,

the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,

and his

incomparably great power

for us who believe.

.  .  .

That power

is the same as the mighty strength 

he exerted 

when he raised Christ from the dead

and seated him at his right hand

in the heavenly realms,

far above all rule and authority,

power and dominion,

and every name that is invoked,

not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”

– Ephesians 1:18-21

___________________

Doing good, following rules, no matter how sincere, cannot save. Adhering to creeds and memorizing catechisms can be wonderfully useful, but still, they’re external to genuine salvation. Religion is man’s best effort at pulling God down. But Christ already came down. Now, we each must come alone to the cross of Christ in repentance for the forgiveness of sins, finding in Him mercy and grace through the blood of Christ, shed on the cross. The reality of this faith involves utter death to oneself. Then, and only then, we may walk in the newness of life.

But what is this newness of life? Can it be found in the sweet by-and-by of a church hymnal? The dutiful but tired schlep of “doing the doing”? Or is it hard-won by pleasing men in the name of obedience? Artifice. Newness of life is found in the power of God that is promised to His chosen ones. The rescuing and transforming, informing and empowering, igniting and setting-a-soul-on-fire power of God that redeems men from the eternal grip of sin, death, hell, and the grave. Dunamis.

And this is the flash point: Unless it becomes reality, futility will be the lot of every Jew and Gentile until they’re reconciled to Christ — submitted in love to Him, heart, soul, mind, and strength. While this isn’t done perfectly this side of heaven, there remains the possibility of not loving Him aright — to as yet not know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, to as yet not be filled with all the fullness of God:

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith— that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

– Ephesians 3:14-19

 Evidence to the Contrary, Genie Maples, 44 x 44 oil on canvas

________________________

Ten Years Ago

I once loved God with what I thought was all my heart. But the crash and burn from mounting stressors caused me a hard fall. Prolonged mental anguish was the trial that proved my mind was not aligned and submitted to His Word. A two-year plunge into a pit of paralyzing fear, anxiety, and depression was the holy confrontation that changed me for good — leaving me weak and flat on my back with my face to the ground. Where I learned to take off my shoes.

Holy is His Name.

What I realized only after that wrestling match was this: God was jealous for me. What it took — terrors by night and a coaxing, fragile anxiety by day — to eventually break me of my willful intellect, heal me of my scarred mind. Each synapse led me to the door of defeat, every neurotransmitter fired straight into the gutter, missing the mark. I wouldn’t know what a little depression looked like. Mine was a full-on assault, targeting for the ruination of my mind. The enemy plays for keeps. The house, the world–too small! The sky? Too big. This stranger wasn’t well. Staring into the abyss, darkness was my closest friend.

After many rivers to cross, my cry for deliverance reached God’s ears. He heard my feeble whisper from His holy hill — on His timetable, not mine. There were lessons for me to learn before He was to rescue me from myself and the demons’ fiery darts that plied for my demise. Struck down, but not destroyed. Once He had me where He wanted me, He reached down from on high and held out His hand to help me up. By sheer grace, I grabbed on. Transformation began as He worked to overhaul my mind, helped train my thoughts to rest squarely upon the truth of His Word. Both sleeves rolled up, elbow-high, mainly His.

It took time, but like the dawn, a formidable strength came — what seemed a glorious marble slab built upon a city with foundations, stretching into eternity — was placed under my feet. Blessed assurance, settled in the heavens, had now been poured out on earth. I was learning to walk in the power of God.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

-2 Timothy 1:7

To those who know what it is to struggle, let me say this:

Come, be reconciled to God: heart, mind, soul and strength. Make your repentance complete in the sight of God. Go to Him on bended knee, receive cleansing for sin, let Him make peace through His blood. He’s your Freedom Fighter. Renounce all lesser strengths, lesser hopes, lesser thrones. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Agree with the Word of God. Trust Him alone as you throw off everything that hinders. Believe and trust in His Name and Word alone. The power of God will be yours.

Dunamis.

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