What is Omnipotence and What Does it Mean for Me?
- Brent Rinehart www.apparentstuff.com
- 2018 16 Apr
My young daughter has a lot of questions. One that she’s been asking lately is “What (or who) is God and where did He come from?” She understands that He’s the creator of all things, but in her mind, everything has a start and a finish. Her young brain can’t seem to grasp that God has always been. Infinite time and an eternal God are hard for her to wrap her head around.
I never remember asking these types of questions when I was a kid. I think my daughter is more of a thinker than I was at her age. It certainly keeps me on my toes. She wants all of the answers, and that poses challenges as we discuss matters of faith. There are certain things that we simply just do not know or can’t understand in our human minds. Scriptures says “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29). We also know that God says “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
God sees all and knows all, and He’s always been. He’s omniscient and omnipotent, and that’s not just something to talk about during a Bible Study. It has huge implications for our lives today. The fact that God is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20) gives us the hope we need to make it through our day to day lives.
Omnipotent (literally “all” + “powerful”) – it’s a word you don’t really see in the Bible. It is referenced in the KJV version of Revelation 19:6: “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” But, even if it’s not mentioned regularly, this attribute of God is on display from the beginning to the end, from Genesis to Revelation. God’s power is showcased in creation, calling everything into existence. It’s present in the life of all of the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets. His power in on display through Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. We see His power in the person of the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. And, we get a glimpse of His power in what’s foretold in the book of Revelation.
But what does all of this mean for us today? Just as the popular Jeremy Camp song says, “the same power that rose Jesus from the grave, lives in us.” God’s omnipotence gives us hope and confidence. In fact, it’s what gives us the ability to be who God intended us to be.
It gives us power for an abundant and godly life.
We know that Jesus “came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Without God’s power – through Jesus – a truly abundant life isn’t possible. “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).
We don’t get to the movies often, but we were recently able to see “I Can Only Imagine.” If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a beautiful picture of what God’s power can do in a life – it changed Bart Millard’s father from a “monster” to a man of God. And, it softened Bart’s hardened heart to make forgiveness possible. If we allow God to work in us, it’s amazing what His power can do.
Pastor and teacher Kevin DeYoung says it this way: “The God who has the power to raise Jesus has the same power to save you, to change you, and to make you ready and willing to live for him.”
It gives us the power to be content.
I think it’s a part of our human nature to not be satisfied. It’s a particular part of the American experience to always want more. Many of us have to fight demons of jealousy, envy, and want. It’s not a battle we are likely to win on our own. The Apostle Paul knew this well.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).
Verse 13 is one of those verses that’s plucked out and used in all kinds of contexts. But here Paul is talking about contentment. With God, contentment in life is possible… because God – in his omnipotence – can give us the strength.
It gives us the power to serve others.
Author and teacher Henry Blackaby (Experiencing God) writes, “The reality is that the Lord doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. Will God ever ask you to do something you are not able to do? The answer is yes--all the time! It must be that way, for God's glory and kingdom. If we function according to our ability alone, we get the glory; if we function according to the power of the Spirit within us, God gets the glory. He wants to reveal Himself to a watching world.”
As you’ve heard said before, God doesn’t need our ability, he only needs our availability. He gives us everything we need to be salt and light in the world. We just have to be willing to be used by Him.
God’s all powerful. In light of this, my difficult conversations with my daughter about faith and God become a little easier. God gives me the power and wisdom to know what to say as He continues to draw her in closer. I’m so thankful that in my own weaknesses, He shows how strong He is.
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter.
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/GordonImages
Brent Rinehart is a public relations practitioner and freelance writer. He blogs about the amazing things parenting teaches us about life, work, faith and more at www.apparentstuff.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @brentrinehart