The Empowered Man

The Empowered Man
February 6, 2015 Neil Kennedy

The Empowered Man

It was a complete surprise when I received the phone call, the high school wrestling coach was on the phone, “Neil, I need you to represent our team at a tournament.” It was the one benefit of being small and weighing 108 pounds when I was a freshman. He was so desperate for me to be on the team that he and his wife picked me up for the drive to the tournament as he had sent the school bus ahead.

My wrestling coach was a man’s man. He was strong, but kind. He was smart but silent. I noticed how respectful and compassionate he was when speaking to his wife. As we define a FivestarMan, my coach was gallant — showing special attention and respect toward women.

I also realized that there was something else deep within him. As kind as he was there was a frustration that boiled underneath the surface. He never allowed its exposure, but it was there, a simmering heat that seemed to empower him. I was intrigued by him.

One day, a couple of my teammates and I arrived at the gymnasium early to discover our coach running sprints and bleachers. His workout program was so far beyond ours that we dropped our jaws in respect.

Finally, after months of admiration and mutual respect, he shared with me the source of his frustration.

Although he survived the gruesome Viet Nam war, he had contracted malaria. He shared with me that his workout was to build himself up so that when the reoccurrence of the symptoms attacked him, his body would be conditioned for the fight.

This was one of the most humbling, and frightening times of my young life. I suddenly realized that this warrior was fighting for his life. His workouts weren’t motivated to count his abs, but to prepare himself for a battle. His ultimate ambition was to live — to be there for his wife and children.

My coach was an empowered man.

He fought the evils of war. He fought the evils of rejection when he returned from that war. Then he had to condition himself for the reoccurring attack of his nemesis, malaria.

Friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life! – Jude 1:20 (Msg)

Jude writes a letter to remind and strengthen Believers to build themselves up during a difficult season and the reoccurrence of persecution. Although his letter is brief, the words are stout — direct and substantive. Matter of factly, he says, “I wanted to write about the salvation that we share, but… some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches.”

His argument is against those who have stepped outside of the limitations of authority, usurpers, complainers, grumblers, mockers, and scoffers. His list is detailed and ends with a dire warning; they are “doomed forever to blackest darkness.”

Amazingly, this letter is as relevant today as it was the day it was written. We’re living in a time when the usurpation of authority has become common practice — modus operandi.

So, it is also interesting that Jude’s recommendation is to “build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit.”

What does that mean?

Praying in the Holy Spirit is a phrase that the Apostle Paul writes about in his letter to the Corinthians.

“For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I don’t understand what I am saying. Well then, what shall I do? I will pray in the spirit, and I will also pray in words I understand.” (1 Corinthians 14:14)

Paul used this phrase again in his letter to the Ephesians, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” (Ephesians 6:18)

We’re living in troubling times. How are we going to lead our families to faith, conviction, and courage through these times?

Someone asks, “Do you pray in the Spirit?”

Absolutely! Almost constantly. Yes! I can’t imagine trying to navigate life without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

There is a shyness and timidity regarding the teaching of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. I know it’s not politically correct in current Church culture. Some are wanting to relegate the experience into private rooms. Some are twisting and massaging the language to avoid the Biblical use of the term “speaking in tongues.”

Frankly, I won’t waste my time arguing with someone who doesn’t believe in this doctrine any more than I will try to convince an atheist the existence of God. The fool says in his heart there is no God, and I don’t try to answer the fool.

My point in this article is to encourage men very clearly to “build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Spirit.”

We’re living in serious times, and we need serious men leading our families by being empowered the most Biblical way. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:8)

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Action Step:

Ask God to empower you.

Neil Kennedy

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