Not Merely Out Of, But According To
God provides strength to His children in Christ, not merely “out of,” but “according to” the power that is at work within them. In this brief clip, H.B. Charles Jr. considers Romans 8:9.
Romans 8:9, the (b) part of that verse says that whoever “does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.” But when you trust Christ for salvation, God the Holy Spirit immediately takes up residence and He lives within us to give us the strength we need to do God’s will. And it’s “according to” power. I like that. It’s “according to,” not just “out of,” but it’s “according to.” Some celebrity goes into a restaurant and leaves a thousand-dollar tip, and it shows up on a tabloid blog site as something big. But it’s no big thing for a millionaire to give a thousand-dollar tip “out of” his or her wealth. But there are billionaires who are dedicated to giving away half their wealth for education and medical research. They’re not giving “out of” their riches. They’re giving “according to” their riches. This is how God provides strength to His children in Christ: not merely “out of,” but “according to” the power that is at work within us. I know it doesn’t feel that way sometimes, right? And you say, “If this ‘exceedingly abundantly above’ power is work within me, I sure don’t feel it,” to which I say, “Good!” The promise here is not that you will feel strong. In fact, I suggest to you that it is a good thing when we feel weak. When we feel strong, we are prone to act as if we are self-sufficient. The weaker we feel, the more we lean on Him. Even when we don’t feel strong, we have the assurance of God’s words, that this power is still real and available and sufficient. One writer said, “It is as gentle as the development of the dewdrop, as imperceptible as the growth of a tree, but as lasting as the throne of God.” Even when you don’t feel it, this strength is available. Isn’t that what Paul affirms in another place, in 2 Corinthians, when he received this thorn in the flesh? He prayed about it, because he concluded that he could not serve the Lord with this debilitating weakness, only to have God tell him, “My grace is sufficient for you,” 2 Corinthians 12:9, “and My strength is perfected in your weakness.”