Not in Word but in Power
For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.
1 Corinthians 4:20
Christianity is not moral platitudes, lofty intentions, and noble thoughts. The fundamental characteristic of God’s kingdom is power. Paul faced constant criticism about his work among the early churches. Some of his detractors would travel to cities such as Corinth and speak extensively about all that Paul was doing incorrectly. At times, people in the churches were enticed to believe the slanderous criticisms against the apostle.
Paul responded with a reminder that the test of a kingdom citizen’s authenticity was not the persuasiveness of his words, but the spiritual power of his life. Paul candidly acknowledged that some did not find him eloquent in speech (2 Cor. 10:10). Yet they could not question God’s power in his life. He had seen many people converted, and many churches were started through his ministry. He had been used to heal the sick and raise the dead through God’s power. Regardless of whether his words were eloquent, they carried spiritual power and authority that came from God.
You will encounter many people who seek to convince you of their opinions concerning the kingdom of God. They may speak passionately. They may even bring charts and graphs to prove their points! But the test of the validity of their words is the spiritual power of their lives. If a person speaks forcefully about a point of doctrine but is habitually sinning, his words are discredited by his life. If a person talks of the power of God but gives no evidence of victory in her life, her words are empty. It is much easier to talk about the victorious Christian life than it is to live it.
If you only have the appearance of godliness without any corresponding spiritual power (2 Tim. 3:5), ask God to cleanse you of your sin and to fill you with His Spirit so that your life is characterized by power.