Yesterday I wrote about encouragement being a spiritual gift. Today I want to talk about the gift of empowerment. Again while this term is not specifically mentioned in Scripture as a spiritual gift, Scripture does indeed talk about it.
Encouragement and Empowerment are closely related. Encouragement helps another to continue to have courage within their circumstances of life. Empowerment adds another dimension to this by standing with others helping them to overcome their circumstances of life.
We read of Moses being empowered when two men came and stood beside him, holding his arms in the air, when he was called to stand with his staff raised. We see the early church empowering each other when they gave to anyone who was in need. And indeed God empowers us, by the indwelling of his Holy Spirit. He encourages us with his word (Scripture) and empowers us by dwelling in, through and over us, manifesting his love through us.
The book of James is a book about an empowered lifestyle of living. He says,
Jas 2:14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
Jas 2:15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,
Jas 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
Encouragement may say, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled.” But ‘empowerment’ will actually give those same people clothes, food and or shelter. An empowering lifestyle means that when you become aware of a situation and you have the means to do something about that situation: You know that you have a responsibility to do something about it and you will do something about it!
Jesus empowered people by meeting their needs. He healed the sick. He healed the lepers. He healed the lame. He healed the mentally ill. He fed the hungry. He gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. He delivered people from the demonic. And he empowered us by giving himself up for us and through his giving himself up for us, he delivered us from the power of sin once and for all.
Christ empowered us by breaking the curse of death. He empowered us by the gift of life. Eternal life. Abundant life. But Christ hasn’t just empowered us for eternal life in the future. This empowerment starts now. When we accept Christ, we are called to start living the way of kingdom living in the now, for now, right now, continually in the now. And he doesn’t just encourage us to do this. He empowers us to do this, through giving us the Holy Spirit.
An empowering lifestyle is a giving lifestyle. It’s one where we will come and give our selves to help another, in the ways and means that we have the ability to do so. For some it may mean giving financially. For others it can mean to come and help someone move. It might mean to cook a meal. Wash some clothes. Pay a phone bill, or put some petrol in the car. It might mean to come alongside someone, to pray with and give counsel to them. And it might mean to share the gospel with those who don’t know God’s love. Ultimately, ‘empowerment’ means that we will practically share God’s love with those who do and don’t know God’s love, through word, thought and deed.