The Power that Changes the World
An Excerpt from the Power that Changes the World by Bill Johnson • Photo by Rachel Soh
Imagine a city that is filled with a tangible peace—a thick, impressive atmosphere of peace that enables people to think for themselves, dream, and celebrate life. Imagine a place where hope is real and measurable, so the prevailing attitude is that anything is possible.
Imagine a city where prosperity touches every citizen, and there is no lack of any kind. Imagine a place where not only is there no lack, but there is creativity, beauty, and stunning design everywhere you look. Prosperity takes on purpose as God’s nature is seen in the things people have made. Imagine having a government that made you proud to be a citizen. Can you imagine what it would be like to see dignitaries coming from around the world to visit with your leader? Can you imagine the entire city sharing a sense of pride because your leader is so sought after by international leaders, yet he or she serves the best interests of your community? is was the reality in Jerusalem for a season during Solomon’s reign.
That model city that I spoke of shows you but a small part of the life its people enjoyed, but that does not mean it was perfect or without its problems. Even a transformed culture does not force people to do the right things. It just makes right things easily accessible for those who have the heart to pursue them. Culture gives opportunity. It does not take away the free will of the individual. That would be a violation of God’s design.
Having said that, Jerusalem was quite possibly the most transformed city in all of history, and Israel the most transformed nation. But it all started in the heart of Solomon’s father, David, who was trained to value the presence of God as his greatest gift. All of the benefits and blessings that came to the city came from the influence of that one thing.
I know such ideals seem too good to be true in this lifetime. Yet, Jerusalem stands to testify to us that this is, in fact, possible for those who believe. The transformation mentioned above was accomplished under the Old Covenant, at a time when the people of God did not have access to the fullness of the Spirit living in and through them, as is available for us today. How much more possible, then, is this kind of transformation in our day? For those who think such a place sounds too much like Heaven, I agree. Thus, it would be the fulfillment of our assignment, “on Earth as it is in Heaven.”
It is hard for anyone who longs to impact the course of human history to feel very qualified, especially when we are lined up against people like David, Solomon, Daniel, Joseph, Esther, and other historic heroes of the faith. It is challenging to think we could have the same kind of result as when God appeared to Solomon in the night and gave him anything he could ask for. That is not the experience of the average believer. Yet, while it is true that Solomon had an opportunity that no one else on record has ever had with God (he could have had anything he wanted), there is a profound exception to this reality. Jesus gave this same promise to everyone who follows Him:
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14, emphasis added).
The challenge in discovering our profound opportunity to have anything we want is to use this privilege for the well-being of our communities and not for building our personal empires. It would be incorrect for me to say that our personal needs are not represented in His promise. It’s just that when a person has been given access to seeing nations saved and discipled, it seems small-minded to use that tool only in hopes of getting a new car. Remember, the opportunity to transform a nation was given to the one who used his God moment for the sake of the people he served. I wonder how much more God would give us if we used our moments for the sake of our city and nation.
Solomon had a wisdom that is truly unparalleled in history. But he got it from Someone. His name is Jesus. Our born-again experience gives us access to a greater wisdom than even Solomon had:
“You are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
The good news is that Jesus is our wisdom. The indwelling presence of Christ gives us immediate access to unequalled wisdom. On top of that, we have the admonition to pursue earnestly spiritual gifts, and that includes wisdom. God has promised to give wisdom liberally to those who ask.
In short…although Solomon was extremely gifted of God, we have been given access to even more. We are simply without excuse.
If we can keep these things in mind and fully yield ourselves to the purposes of God for this hour, maintaining a heart of hope and promise for the days ahead, nothing will be impossible.
This is our privileged moment to be alive.