“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: `Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)
NOT BY MIGHT On more than 100 occasions the Old Testament uses the word MIGHT to refer to collective strength, to armies or warriors. In anything God calls us to do for him if we put our trust in MIGHT, we will be wasting our time. Not by might of NUMBERS, or of MONEY, or of GOOD PREMISES, or of NEW TECHNOLOGY or LOTS of ACTIVITIES. These are tools God may choose to use to help bring folk to salvation. But we must not put our trust in any of them. NOT BY MIGHT – says the ALL MIGHTY God. In comparison to His great might, all our human resources count for nothing at all!
NOT BY POWER Over a hundred times in the Old Testament we find this word, which refers to the strength of individual men and women. Not by power of TRAINING, or of EXPERIENCE or of HUMAN WISDOM or of HARD WORK. Don’t think for one minute that as long as we put in the effort, as long as we deliver enough leaflets, or knock on enough doors, or hold enough meetings, people are guaranteed to be saved. It doesn’t work like that!
Not by might or by power BUT BY MY SPIRIT says the Lord Almighty. Michael Green reminds us, “It is the Holy Spirit who convicts people of sin; it is the Holy Spirit who enables people to say Jesus is Lord; it is the Holy Spirit who baptises people into Christ; it is the Holy Spirit who brings new birth; it is the Holy Spirit who assures us that we belong to Jesus; it is the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit of changed characters; it is the Holy Spirit who gives us gifts so that we can serve God more effectively.” Our part is to make sure we are available to God and ready to obey Him when He wants to use us, and that we don’t get in God’s way by trying to do His work for Him! The Holy Spirit is already at work in the lives of “not yet Christians.” And the Holy Spirit is at work in our lives too. It’s the Holy Spirit who gives us the words to say when we share the gospel.
We may feel we could never tell other people about Jesus. But it’s not about skillful speaking and persuasive words. It’s about the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, and working in the people we are talking to! And that power isn’t just for ministers and evangelists, but for EVERY Christian. That is what Jesus promised in Luke 24:46-49:-
“This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
This is the promise of Pentecost. Power from on High. Power to be witnesses for Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit. The dynamo and the dynamite of God the Holy Spirit at work in OUR lives, which can accomplish so much more than we can ever ask for or even imagine!