Has God Lost His Power?

OPINION: If the behavior of today’s church is any indication, God is no longer relevant to our real-life circumstances—at least that’s the message being communicated to the younger generation. Here’s a youth pastor’s plea for restoring Christianity to its full power by living like we believe it.

I remember the feelings of pride and confidence I felt as a child when I heard Bible stories that told of God’s triumphant powers reigning supreme over all the other gods and rulers and kings. Even though I did not consider myself as a “Child of Israel,” I did connect with “God’s chosen people” and felt that I had access to this same power. I felt that with God on my side I would overcome any obstacle and triumph in any situation. I felt invincible. I felt unstoppable. But this wasn’t just youthful arrogance. I had biblical support.

Moses’ fight with Pharaoh’s magicians was not a fight between slaves and tyrant, it was a fight between gods. Who would win? The Living God or the dead god? When Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den, it was not a fight between man and animal, it was a fight between gods. Who would win? The Living God or the dead god? When the three Hebrew boys were thrown in the fiery furnace, it was not a fight against man and fire, it was a fight against gods. Who would win? The Living God or the dead god? When David fought Goliath, it was not a fight between men, it was a fight between gods. Who would win? The Living God or the dead god? Each time, as we know, the Living God prevailed and the consistent winningness of God increased the reputation of the Living God (of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).

Each day, we all fight similar battles with our own fiery furnaces and personal giants — against political edicts and social and cultural pressures that conflict with our understandings and convictions. But the results of these battles are different from the results during the biblical era.

Too many Christians today carry their Bibles to church and profess their faith in the power of Jesus, but then go back to decrepit communities and overcrowded houses, where they are suffocating in bills, poor health, and an overall dissatisfaction with their lives. Inwardly they struggle with having a better life on earth and being a poor person who suffers long because they are Christians. Any suggestion of one’s life being a physical manifestation of the quality of one’s faith is immediately dismissed as “prosperity gospel” and even anti-Christian. Their (misguided) logic goes like this: heaven is their reward; and though evil appears to be winning today, in the very end good will make a comeback.

As honorable and sincere as this may sound, what would have happened if David had that mentality when he fought Goliath? What if Moses thought like that when he was freeing the Children of Israel out of bondage? Not only would there be no Christianity today, there wouldn’t even be Judaism! And because we have chosen this as our stance today, we are in danger of being the reason why the Christian faith has lost its strength and relevance for the contemporary world.

As a rule, people do not gravitate toward that which appears not to work. And this, I believe, is how the younger generations of Christians interpret Christianity today: anemic, irrelevant, powerless.

Is this a surprise? Either the Living God is losing His power, or Christians are doing something wrong.  I say Christians are doing something wrong. Our faith must be more than hope in eternal life with God. It must be a bulletin board for all to see consistency in our lives to show the power that God holds for helping us live holy, purposeful, and relevant lives TODAY.

Young people are not interested in being a part of something that is not working. Young people are uninterested in carrying on traditions for tradition’s sake. We want evidence. We don’t want to be defeated. We want power. We want to feel excited about God and God’s people again.

Let’s have a conversation. Do you think God is losing His power in today’s church? What can we do to make our faith more real to the younger generation?

About the author, Tim Lee

Tim Lee, a Chicago-based editor and youth minister, is the founder of One Black Man, a leadership consulting firm for Black boys between the ages of 13 and 18. In his free time, Lee actively participates as a member of the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League and the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
  1. To answer your first question directly…God will never lose his power. He’s given humans power as well…the power to choose for ourselves if we will accept God, also known as free will. The only thing we can do for our young people is to pray for them, continue to share our faith with them even if they aren’t receptive to it at first (it is our job to share the Good News) and remind them that the choice to accept Christ is one that is theirs alone and one that must be taken seriously.

  2. This is a great discussion about the perception of Christianity. Consistency is definitely needed… However I believe it is the hypocrisy of the church that pushes some away from their potential relationship with God. This is why a lot of people would rather stay home than fellowship with a body who does not practice what is preached.

  3. It is unfortunate to think that the values entrusted to us by previous generations could possibly be lost due to mere circumstance. More than ever today, youth are looking for tangible evidence of God’s presence before they decide to study his Word, attend sermons, or tithe(properly). God is as powerful as he as ever been, we know that because we woke up this morning. And if you think about it, his power is actually further evidenced by the state of the world today, as even those who have at once found favor through Christ have had their purposes changed due to later corruption. You then have visual representation in the form of economic downturn, higher divorce rates, and both sketchy political and church figures just to name a few. If God heard enough of our prayers, wrongs will turn right, but as you pointed out, how can we get the people to pray when some of our most faithful remain apathetic?

  4. An interesting and thought-provoking post. This spring Judson Press will publish Debra Mumford’s “Exploring Prosperity Preaching: Biblical Health, Wealth & WIsdom.” Would love to have you review this book for Urban Faith, given your interest in this topic. Let me know if you’re interested!

  5. No God hasn’t lost his power. His people have stop using his hotline.Praying to God gives us a connection to him. He loves when we praise him when we tell him about our day and thanking him for his favor.We as believers need to express our praise to him and he will brgin talking becuase when praises go up blessings fall down.

  6. So interesting and very true, but GOD will never lose his power. It may be hard for some of us to understand that GOD does have all power, however, we are in control over the choices we make. If we are not living an abundant life, then I am afraid that we are not doing something right. GOD does allow for us to go through certain things, but the operative word there is through. There has to be a due season where we reap what we sow. GOD will never lead us into lack, that would be contrary to his Word. A good preacher once said that GOD shows up at the level of your faith, so ye of little faith may cause little manisfestation. Our lives should be a light that draws others to Christ, especially the youth.

  7. I so much believe what you have written!! I’ve been sitting at my desk asking God for ‘the’ Word to preach this Sunday at an area church. I’ve got sermons but I want to deliver a Word in due season! The theme of your post has been circulating in varying forms over the past several months. I am so convinced that Christians must start acting like what we believe is true! Thank you so much for putting this out for public discourse. I think I know what I have to talk about on Sunday!! Be blessed!

  8. God will never ever lose His power!!! I believe that there are a couple of issues. First, church is not a staple of the community like it used to be so less youth are being brought up in the church to learn these stories.
    Second, this generation is filled with people who seek instant gratification. When God says no a few times before saying yes, this discourages some people when they don’t realize that God knows exactly what He is doing and His timeline will never match ours.
    Third, people are trying to look for biblical miracles today, but they don’t realize that God still performs modern day miracles. People are too busy complaining about the rain to notice the rainbow and the grass growing or the water we have to drink.

  9. God will never lose His power. Because we have free will, so much has crept into the Church that sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between those that profess Christianity and those that do not. Some believe that it doesn’t take all that to be saved. But God doesn’t change. If it took all that back in the day, it still takes all that. Just like children look to their parents for guidance, so does the world look to the Church. God has given us a mandate and a standard to uphold. The world might not know what it is to be a Christian but they certainly know what it isn’t. We must go back to the old way.

  10. I will answer the question with an opinion of “no”. Now a question. If God is talking, but no one is listening is the effectiveness of his power the same? You hit it right on the head Tim, young people want proof. That proof is hard to find when you go to church and/or real your bible, then go home to hatred and negativity. Black people make up roughly 12.6% of the population in the US (based on 2010 census), but are above 50% in so many negative categories (disease, obesity, incarcerartions…) To answer your second question of how to reach the young people, you have to end the cycles that exist of hopelessness. It’s hard to find a diamond in the rough, but easy to find a diamond in a bowl full of diamonds. Meaning, it is hard to find examples of what you just read in your bible or learned in church when you live where hatred lives. However when you live where peace is it is easier to find Godly things. If you want to reach the young the situation of our generation (25-35 roughly) need to improve health wise, economically, socially, and any other way..

    • I hear you brother, God will NEVER lose His power. But I have a simple solution for you…If you don’t like where you live–MOVE! I mean that realistically & metphorically. That’s the problem with the 20-30 something genereation; they don’t seem to have faith enough in their OWN abilities to trust God to make a way out of no way. They read the statistics and give up or settle for less than the best. As the infamous, MalcolmX said, “You have been hood-winked and bamboozled!”

      Consider this, What have you given God to work with? Truthfully, he ain’t impressed because you show up at church every Sunday with your Bible. If you come home to hatred and negativity-MOVE! Do what it takes to make a better life for yourself and for those individuals YOU bring into the world…that’s powerful. Don’t just sit there and say God has lost his power and you need proof…He’s given you 66 Books of proof!

      Now, I have a question: What do you want proof of? If you want proof, BECOME the catalyst of your own destiny–BECOME the proof you want to see! Will it be easy–NO. Will you face defeat and obstacles? Most definately, YES. But defeat does not mean denied. Why are young people so afraid of the battle? Truly it is only through loosing a few battles that one learns to fight!

      Quit asking God to prove something He has already proven. The Bible is 66 books of proof. Young people simply need to start DOING something besides looking at their natural situation and start believing with their spiritual eye and relying on the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them.

      I agree with Mr. Lee, what if David had not fought Goliath, or Moses had not lead the children of Israel out of Egypt? Likewise, what if Dr. King had not lead the Civil Rights movememt, Barry Gordy never started MoTown, or John Johnson never created Ebony? You want proof?
      Barack Obama, the first African American President–proof!
      JayZ, Kanye West, Jermaine Dupree–all leading music moguls-PROOF
      UMI, Black Enterprise, Essence Magazine, Gospel Today Magazine-PROOF

      All of these people became the proof of what one can accomplish with God’s help.

      You want proof–become the proof you want to see. As Mr. Lee’s organization teaches, it only takes “One Black Man” to make a change.

  11. Of course God is and will be living until God decides He will not. Like the children in the desert, many just don’t recognize the blessings. They live in a perpetual cycle of defeat based on real circumstances, many of which I hear people label is just what it means to live ‘black’. When we do that, we miss seeing all the blessings and miracles. Our Bibles are not just full of ‘great things.’ They are filled with all kinds of circumstances -good and bad. We have to learn how to ‘read’ what God gives us. We can draw others in with the power of God’s love. Remember, Jesus’ worst enemies were in the temple. We have to rise above it and bring others with us. God is reaching His people through the lives and testimonies of other believers. We have to reach out and show what God is teaching us to reveal. Let the truth stand.

  12. This is some good news