Bob Tamasy: Disconnected From The Power Source

Thursday, August 28, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

There I was, minding my own business, finishing an article I’d been working on. Suddenly, my computer screen went blank. The light in my office went dark, and the air conditioner stopped running, so I knew there was a problem. Our electricity had been disrupted. Few things make me feel more powerless than when the power is out.

In days of yore, when journalists like me executed our wordsmith tasks on prehistoric machines called manual typewriters, I could have continued working – as long as there was enough light to see what was on the paper. But thanks to the advances of technology, when a desktop computer is disconnected from the power source, work comes to an abrupt halt. 

Thankfully, I didn’t lose much of my work. Years ago I had learned a vital lesson: I’d written about two pages of copy but failed to hit the “Save” button when, to my dismay, the power went off without warning, casting my well-crafted words and paragraphs into cyberspace oblivion. What I had written, I can’t recall. Perhaps it was the start of the next Great American Novel. Who knows? But when my computer came back on, the words were long gone and couldn’t be recaptured, having flown to the communications cosmos. Since that day I always try to remember that Jesus saves – and so should I.

Yes, we now have notebook/laptop computers, tablets, and even smartphones that can meet our writing needs, but I’m a traditionalist. There’s something about a real-sized keyboard and sitting at a real desk I find not only comforting, but also productive, even inspiring. So I’m sadly and hopelessly dependent on the power company to keep me going. When the power stops working, I do too. 

But what if I’d just kept typing away, my fingers flying across the keys creating a sequence of words and sentences and paragraphs on my wireless keyboard (battery-powered, of course) despite the darkened computer screen? Would that have made sense to continue working when my computer’s hard drive was in “park”?

Of course not. But that’s how we approach much of our lives, especially spiritual pursuits. The power’s off, but we press ahead convinced we’re doing something meaningful and good in our own strength. 

The apostle Paul referred to this in a letter to his young protégé, Timothy, when he described religious people as, “without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them” (2 Timothy 3:3-5).

As we read this indictment it’s easy to think, “Yeah, I don’t want to be like those people!” But what if “those people” happen to be us? Many of us have learned well how to go through the motions, using the right words and following the expected rituals and practices in church settings, but when people observe us outside that setting, do they see any semblance of the life and power of Jesus Christ manifested in our lives? 

That, I’m convinced, is the distinctive between religion – mankind’s best effort to reach God (including in some cases, institutional Christianity) – and a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Repeatedly He told His followers about the futility of attempting to do God-stuff in what the Bible calls “the flesh.”

He said things like, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Then Jesus added, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7). Essentially He’s saying He is the power source – but too often we “unplug” and try doing things for Him rather than letting Him do His work through us. 

One of Jesus’ parting statements to His followers was, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” (Acts 1:8). Christ left the earth physically, but in His stead sent His Spirit, the power source for us to live the life God calls us to live.

This is what Paul meant when he wrote to believers in Rome: “For when we were controlled by the sinful nature (the flesh), the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work…. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code” (Romans 7:5-6). 

As I mentor men, I emphasize this truth – something I learned years ago but still remind myself every day. When we try to do good things in the flesh, by our own power, we often encounter failure. Much like pounding on a computer keyboard when the electrical power is off. We can try hard, giving it maximum effort, but things won’t turn out the way we’d like.

But when we appropriate the power of Christ, desiring to do what He wants in His way and through His strength, the outcome not only will be better but also will require a lot less effort. 

So if you’ve been diligently endeavoring to do good, moral, God-honoring things, but find yourself worn out, even discouraged, there’s probably a good reason. Perhaps you’re not drawing from the Source of power.

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com, and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. He can be emailed at btamasy@comcast.net.

Bob Tamasy: Believing Is Seeing

The adage tells us, “Seeing is believing.” This particularly applies to our physical world, in which we make observations and draw conclusions based on what we’ve seen. Prior to the initiative and inventiveness of Orville and Wilbur Wright, mankind suspected it might be possible to fly but as every effort failed, it seemed a hope beyond belief. After the Wright brothers demonstrated ... (click for more)

The Big Event Auction Offers Big Items At Abba's House

Abba’s House is hosting an auction and luncheon to raise funds for Ron Phillips Ministries on Sept. 28, at 12 p.m. in the Awaken Worship Center. Tickets can be purchased online, in the main lobby on Sundays or in the Abba’s House Bookstore and Cafe during the week. Tickets for the event are $15. Childcare is available for children up to fifth grade, and the cost of ... (click for more)

Chancellor Rules That IDB Must Reimburse Attorney Fees, Other Legal Costs For Helen Burns Sharp On TIF Lawsuit

Chancellor Pam Fleenor has ruled that Helen Burns Sharp, who sued over the validity of a $9 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for a planned major development on Aetna Mountain, should be reimbursed her discretionary costs as well as her attorney fees. Ms. Sharp said in a recent court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka were $74,427 at the time. The ... (click for more)

Jumoke Johnson Jr. To Plead Guilty On Selling Crack Cocaine

A youth who was in the news earlier as a teen who had been the first in his family to graduate from Brainerd High School and who found a patron willing to pay for his college education is set to plead guilty on Tuesday to a charge of selling crack cocaine. Jumoke Johnson Jr., who turned 21 on Saturday, dropped out of Miles College in Alabama after one semester and has been ... (click for more)

ChattaData Is A Real Advance For The City

This past Tuesday, the city of Chattanooga's new performance management tool called ChattaData was unveiled. As the chairman of the City Council’s Budget & Finance Committee, I am excited to witness the city putting this important information online in a way that is accessible and transparent to all taxpayers. This approach shines light on how we as a city prioritize our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: It’s ‘Hate The SEC’ Day

The boo birds came out on the fly on the ESPN website Sunday afternoon, this moments after the latest AP College Football “Top 25” included eight teams from the Southeastern Conference.   What set naysayers aglow was Mississippi State, after upsetting LSU 34-29 Saturday night, debuted on the list at No. 14 while Clemson, playing Florida State in an overtime thriller, got tossed ... (click for more)