There once was a lumberjack that lived around the time that chainsaws were first introduced. This lumberjack was so strong and experienced that he could cut down ten trees a day using only hand tools. However, while picking up supplies at a store, the salesmen convinced him that he could double or triple the number of trees cut down per day if he used one of the new chainsaws.
This sounded far-fetched to the lumberjack; however, always desiring to improve he decided to give it a try. At the end of the week, he came into the store and told the salesmen that the first day he was only able to cut down three trees with the chainsaw! However, not being a quitter he tried harder the next day and was able to cut down four trees in a day and by the end of the week was able to cut down five trees a day using the chainsaw. He stated to the salesmen that the chainsaw was working him harder than ever with only half the trees cut down compared to what he did with saw and ax! The salesman was very apologetic and offered to look at the chainsaw to ensure it was performing properly. The experienced lumberjack went to his truck and brought the chainsaw into the store for the salesman to examine. The salesman flipped the start switch, gave the starter rope a quick pull and the engine roared to life. The lumberjack jumped back – being startled by the sound of the engine – and yelled out… WHAT IS THAT NOISE? (2)
Like the lumberjack, many have tried to live the Christian life in their own power and not the power available to them in Jesus Christ. The Gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16. Hebrews 1:3) and is available to all Christians. It is in this second phase that we can experience the power that raised Jesus from the dead! (Ephesians 1:20. Acts 1:8)
Self-Sufficient Phase (Philippians 3:10 …and the power of His resurrection…)
If we persevere to abide in the Word and have the Word abide in us (i.e., we come to know Jesus in the first phase), then the Power of His Word is revealed to us.
Furthermore, I have found daily praying the following prayers of Paul extremely beneficial in “turning our spiritual engine on” during this phase of the journey: Ephesians 3:16-21. Philippians 1:9-11. Colossians 1:9-11. 2 Thessalonians 1:11,12. Romans 15:5,6. 1 Thessalonians 3:12,13
We then begin to demonstrate the power of God through prayer in undoing the plans of the enemy and receiving God’s blessings. We discover the gifts of the Spirit (1) operating in our lives with the result that we experience the “all things are possible” of the Bible (Philippians 4:13). Others take notice and come to you for prayer; they are amazed at the anointing in your teaching and/or preaching, your boldness in the faith, etc.
Unfortunately, in this phase, we might think that God has given us His power to fulfill our plans! Furthermore, we might think that God’s power and our ability make a good team (i.e., we think God is fortunate to have us on His team). Therefore, God does not leave those that begin to operate in the power of the Gospel in this phase for too long. We must learn that it is God alone! (1 Timothy 1:17)
The Five Phases of Spiritual Growth Series:
- Have You Got Your Big Boy Pants On?
- Is Your Reactor Critical?
- God’s Rock Tumbler
- God’s Tractor Pull
- A License to Learn
(1) Left-click on the underlined phrase to open another article in a different tab with more explanation.
(2) Allow me to explain the title of this article. Nuclear reactors are “critical” when they are operating in a self-sustaining mode safely making power. Sub-critical is the way a shutdown nuclear reactor is described. Therefore, the title is asking: Do you have your spiritual engine running?