-John 1:12-13 (The Voice)
A rickshaw is a mode of human powered transport. A person pulls you, while you sit in a two wheeled carriage. Rickshaw is short for jinrikjsha. It is a Japanese word that means human power source. The rickshaw likely originated in Japan, possibly invented by a missionary, to transport his disabled wife in Yokohama in the 19th century.
The picture of the rickshaw is a picture of what drives you or what is your power source. What drives you? What is your power source? We are all driven by something and we are all empowered by something.
In John, chapter one, we are told that Jesus is the light who came into the world that he created. The world, for the most part, did not recognize him. They refused to listen to him. They rejected him. They did not welcome him.
But some did get it. They welcomed him. They believed in him. They received him. They trusted in him. They accepted him. For these, he gave power or authorization, the right and privilege to be children of God.
That is, adoption back into God's family. That is, birthright. We are now children of God, who are entitled to full inheritance in Christ.
This all does not come from human effort, or human power. Being reborn, born again, or born from above is a spiritual thing that comes from God, through Christ.
When we are reborn into God's family and adopted in Christ, our power source, what drives us in life, is transformed. Our lives are redeemed. Who we are in our deepest parts is activated. We find a purpose in life, a calling, a giftedness. We have passion, given by God, for a purpose.
What are you driven by? What is your power source? Is your power from inside or outside? Do you make it happen in your life or are you lifted by God and being taken for the ride of your life? What is your purpose, what is your drive?
After Jesus rose from the dead, but before he ascended to heaven; he told his followers:
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you. And you will be My witnesses, first here in Jerusalem, then beyond to Judea and Samaria, and finally to the farthest places on earth. (Acts 1:8)
It happened, and this is what Peter said to the people who were the first to be witnessed to, by Jesus followers:
For the promise of the Spirit is for you, for your children, for all people—even those considered outsiders and outcasts—the Lord our God invites everyone to come to Him. (Acts 2:39)This is God's power. The same power that is miraculous is the power to be His witnesses. Do you have God's power, driving you in your life? What is your power source and what drives you?
God is a covenant God. Christians are under the new covenant. Everything is paid for with Christ. He is the door for our lives. We procure our birthright in Christ. There is hardship, suffering, waiting, searching, and baffled-to-know-better seasons; but it is all in Christ. We are dependent on God in Christ. That is the Christian, the in-Christ, life.
New birth is a miracle and we can only do things that are meaningful in Christ and by being or staying connected to him (John 15:5). The Christian life is Christ plus nothing. We don't do good to get with God or be righteous, but we do good things because Christ is in us and we are his.
If you are empowered by God's power, in your human spirit, and live out your life, driven by the gift God put in you, that brings Him pleasure; there may be people who won't like it and don't share your passion for purpose and who may even mock you, try to discourage you, or even persecute you.
A terrible conflict was happening in the Galatian church that prompted Paul's letter. In a nut-shell, a group of people, who didn't agree with Paul, that salvation is a free gift that is completely paid for by Jesus; were perverting Paul's message of grace alone. This really got Paul angry.
Paul wrote that, figuratively, legalism is like Hagar and Ishmael; and grace is like Sarah and Isaac. Isaac was the miracle child, the promised child, conceived by the elderly mamma and papa, with God's help. Hagar birthed Ishmael, through a bad idea from that same mamma and papa. Here is what Paul wrote to the Galatians about this:
Listen to this: it’s recorded in the Scripture that Abraham was the father of two sons. One son was born to a slave woman, Hagar, and the other son was born to a free woman, Abraham’s wife, Sarah. The slave woman’s son was born through only natural means, but the free woman’s son was born through a promise from God. I’m using an allegory. Here’s the picture: these two women stand for two covenants. The first represents the covenant God made on Mount Sinai—this is Hagar, who gives birth to children of slavery. Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and she stands for the Jerusalem we know now. She has lived in slavery along with her children. But there is a Jerusalem we know above. She is free, and she is our mother. Isaiah wrote,What empowers you? What gives power to your life and drives you? Is your life like Ishamael's, a human, born out of and living by and through human, purely human passion and drive? God calls that slavery to sin.
Be glad, you who feel sterile and never gave birth!So you see now, brothers and sisters, you are children of the promise like Isaac. The slave’s son, born through only what flesh could conceive, resented and persecuted the one born into the freedom of the Spirit. The slave’s son picked at Isaac, just as you are being picked at now. So what does the Scripture say? “Throw out the slave and her son, for the slave’s son will never have a share of the inheritance coming to the son of the free woman.” So, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but sons and daughters of the free. -Gal. 4:21-31 (Isa. 54:1, Gen 21:10) The Voice
Raise a joyful shout, childless woman, who never went into labor!
For the barren woman produces many children,
more than the one who has a husband.
Or is your life a promise fulfilled that only God could fulfill? No hamburger helper needed or allowed. Is your life a life of freedom and grace? Is it a life that is a poem or a tapestry, made by God?
God needs our participation and cooperation, but not our power to deliver, save, or make-it-happen. Did you know that God is offended when we, "take it from here", and make it on our own? He wants to provide. He wants to be depended on. He wants to take care of us in every dimension or arena of our lives. That is why God's name is Father.
Who is your source? Who empowers you? What is the gift of God within you, that drives you to give back to the King?