SPIRITUAL ENERGY : A Preparation for Pentecost
by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca) Kingston, Ontario April 2007
The Greek word dunamis is used 35 times In Paul’s Epistles. It is usually translated as "power." But in modern English this word is mainly used for a power external to ourselves. We think of a jumbo jet taking off, a power mower, the power driven appliances used in our homes. A better translation would be "energy." We say, " I have no energy," "He is an energetic person." And Paul has no doubt that he is being given the energy he needs for the superhuman task he has to perform. So let us try the word "energy" instead of "power" in the texts that describe the secret of his spiritual energy.
"I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the energy of God for saving everyone who has faith" (Romans 1:16). This does not deny our forgiveness from sin in an eternal sense, but the good news for Paul is the spiritual energy that was making Christians so effective in the tough situations they faced in the Roman world.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the energy of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). Many Christians are sure of being forgiven and having a place in heaven, but they feel miserable because they lack the spiritual energy that is available for them.
"We have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary energy belongs to God" (2 Corinthians 4:7).
"My grace is sufficient for you, for energy is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
"You may be strengthened in your inner being with energy through his Spirit" (4:17).
"Now to him who by the energy at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).
"I want you to know the Messiah and the energy of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings" (Philippians 3:10).
"May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious energy" (Colossians 1:11).
By using the word "energy" instead of "power" we can see what motivated Paul. We can also define an effective Christian as one who lives by the energy of the Spirit. And revival comes to a church congregation when a large number begin to live by this energy.