3. From Unable to Empowered

  • Einstein
  • Eric Clapton
    Eric Clapton
  • Jim Carrey
    Jim Carrey
  • Jennifer Lawrence
    Jennifer Lawrence
  • Messi
  • DiVinci
  • Beyonce
  • Robert Downey Jr.
    Robert Downey Jr.

Flip through the gallery and identify which famous person you would like most to imitate.

Suppose you tried as hard as you could to imitate the person you just selected.


What are your chances of achieving their level of expertise in their field of specialization?


What emotions might you experience if you attempt to imitate the person you admire?


If you attempted to imitate such a person, the level of frustration you would experience would be directly proportional to the difference between your abilities and those of the person you selected.


A great challenge:


We are called to imitate Jesus, the only One who ever perfectly obeyed the Father. (Ephesians 5:1-2)


How would you describe the difference between Jesus’ ability to live a godly life and yours?


We have a genuine desire to please God. Yet we often find ourselves failing to succeed in following him. In fact, the Christian life often seems impossible to live. What can be done about this?


When we are frustrated by our inability to live the Christian life, we should consider four possible reasons.


1. We lack the necessary power or ability to live the Christian life.

2. We have the power and ability, but we don’t know that we have it.

3. We know we have the power and ability, but we don’t know how to use it.

4. We know how to use the power and ability, but we choose not to use it.


Which of these 4 possibilities best describes your situation?


Read 1 Corinthians 2:9 – 3:3  

Click for the text

Paul wrote these words to a group of believers struggling to live like Jesus. His audience in Corinth had become divisive.   They formed cliques, claiming to follow different leaders. Immorality and selfishness were found within their congregation. Paul instructs these frustrated people, directing them to the power they need to live pleasing to the Lord.




What is the reason?

The SPIRIT of GOD, our source of understanding and power.


What is one of the purposes of the Holy Spirit according to 1 Corinthians 2:12?


"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God,"  (2:12) 


Three spiritual conditions are described in 1 Corinthians 2. Note how each spiritual condition influences our ability to be pleasing to the Lord.


1.  What is the spiritual condition of the person in 1 Cor. 2:14?


"But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised."  (2:14)


How much spiritual truth does this person comprehend?



2.  What is the spiritual condition of the person in 1 Cor. 2:15-16?


15 "But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ."  (2:15-16)


What advantage does this person have?



3. What is the spiritual condition of the person in 1 Cor. 3:1-3?


And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, 3 for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?


How does Paul describe their limitations? Why do they suffer from these limitations?


In this text, Paul presents three different options of how people can be connected to the Spirit.   How would you summarize what Paul is saying?


The following dynamic graphic is an attempt to visually represent what happens.


Choosing what we rely on: 


How do we live as spiritual men and women?


Ephesians 5:18 says:


"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit."


What are we commanded to avoid?


What are we commanded to do?


The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-directed life by which Christ lives His life in and through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.




Jesus pictured believers as coming to Him to drink from the living water, which is His Spirit (John 7:37-39). Are you thirsty? Those who are thirsty can receive what they desire.  Three things are involved:


DESIRE   Do you desire to be filled (that is, directed and empowered) with the Spirit?

REPENT Are you turning from sin and confessing it to God?

YIELD     Are you surrendering control of your life to Christ?


If you desire, if you repent and if you are ready to yield then you can ask God to fill you with His Spirit. Thank Him that He will direct and empower your life as you continue to trust Him.


The following is a suggested prayer:


Dear Father, I need you. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as you commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would. I pray this is the name of Jesus. I now thank You for filling me with the Holy Spirit and directing my life.


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