The Overwhelming Force

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The Overwhelming Force

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In modern history the concept of “overwhelming force” has been applied to warfare. For instance, during World War II the German word blitzkrieg, meaning “lightning war,” was a coordinated rapid and concentrated attack by tanks, infantry, artillery and aircraft creating an overwhelming military superiority.

More recently, the “Powell Doctrine,” a media-created term named after U.S. Gen. Colin Powell, emphasized “overwhelming strike capabilities” by the deployment of large quantities of armor, aircraft and ground forces against Iraqi troops in Kuwait during the 199091 Persian Gulf War. Similarly, in a possible future conflict with the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah, the Israeli military plans to counter it by launching what it calls a “massive and overwhelming” force.

A parallel concept to overwhelming force from a defensive perspective is illustrated by the phrase “peace through strength.” This means that for a nation to maintain peace and discourage military assault, it must be stronger than any potential adversary. To illustrate, during a speech on March 23, 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan said, “We maintain the peace through our strength; weakness only invites aggression.”

While these strategies apply to potential or real physical conflict between nations, they are also relevant in a divine sense to individual Christians, since Scripture explains that we are engaged in spiritual warfare (2 Corinthians 10:4 2 Corinthians 10:4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
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). And there is an “overwhelming force” available to help you handle every trial and trouble you face. Plus, there is a way you can always experience spiritual “peace through strength”!

“You shall receive power”

The biblical festival of Pentecost commemorates the spectacular day when God first imparted His Holy Spirit to live within a group of people in the New Testament period. This great event is recorded in Acts 2, where 120 disciples were gathered together in Jerusalem to observe this critical annual Holy Day. Shortly thereafter, due to the apostles’ inspired preaching, more than 3,000 people were converted, baptized and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:41 Acts 2:41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.
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). Acts 4:33 Acts 4:33And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was on them all.
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exclaims, “And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all” (emphasis added throughout).

This “great power”—denoting God’s gift of the Holy Spirit—infused the apostles and other disciples with tremendous spiritual dynamism and courage (Acts 1:8 Acts 1:8But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on you: and you shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth.
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). The word “power,” which is translated from the Greek word dunamis (the Greek word from which we get “dynamite” and “dynamo,” indicating great power) , means “miraculous strength and might.” It is synonymous with the English word “force,” which the dictionary describes as “energy, power and intensity.”

So, the “great power” the disciples demonstrated after God gave them His Spirit proved to be compelling, forceful and, yes, overwhelming. Indeed, this Spirit is the essence of God’s very own indisputable, vibrant and powerful divine nature!

God’s supremacy and unconditional strength is made plain throughout the Bible. The apostle Paul described Jesus Christ as “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21 Ephesians 1:21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
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).

Also, the prophet Jeremiah wrote about God’s tremendous authority and strength by stating, “No one is like you, Lord; you are great, and your name is mighty in power” (Jeremiah 10:6 Jeremiah 10:6For as much as there is none like to you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is great in might.
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, New International Version). Likewise, the author of Psalm 147 said, “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite” (Psalms 147:5 Psalms 147:5Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
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).

The embodiment of God’s love

While the Holy Spirit is unquestionably God’s overwhelming force, it’s significantly more. It is the definitive embodiment of His flawless love, integrity, character and righteousness (see “The Holy Spirit: A Gift of God’s Grace,” beginning on page 26). Indeed, the Eternal Creator is utterly pure, completely virtuous, fully knowledgeable, entirely wise and limitless in intelligence. To be precise, He is unequivocally perfect in every way (Psalms 18:30 Psalms 18:30As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.
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).

Looking further into Scripture we see how God, through His Holy Spirit, has manifested His overwhelming power as well as His personal, caring nature— most especially toward those who deeply love, honor and obey Him. For example Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, said, “For He who is mightyhas done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:49 Luke 1:49For he that is mighty has done to me great things; and holy is his name.
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).

In addition, notice how the prophet Jeremiah described the astounding umbrella of divine protection and encouragement that God personally provided to him: “But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail” (Jeremiah 20:11 Jeremiah 20:11But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.
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).

Furthermore, the writer of Psalm 94, attributed in the Greek Septuagint to King David, expressed how God was not only rock-solid but completely reliable toward him personally: “But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge” (Psalms 94:22 Psalms 94:22But the LORD is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge.
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, New International Version).

As God fully supported and sustained these and other servants through the overwhelming force of His Spirit, He promises to do the same for you if you love Him and are striving to do His will! God’s caring and generous guarantee of assistance He offers to you is summed up in this reassuring passage: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31 Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
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). You can personally take immense solace in knowing that when God is on your side, no power on earth—even one that seems overwhelming—can spiritually subjugate or destroy you.

Even so, because of the troubles and pressures experienced in daily life, it may appear at times that God is not there for you. The psalmists such as David felt this way at times in facing intense stress and persecution. Psalm 94 asks, “Lord, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?” (Psalms 94:3 Psalms 94:3LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
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). But the same psalm answers this question a few verses later by stating, “For the Lord will not cast off His people, nor will He forsake His inheritance” (Psalms 94:14 Psalms 94:14For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
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).

The apostle Paul made a similar declaration in stating: “What will separate us from the love Christ has for us? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or violent death separate us from his love? As Scripture says: ‘We are being killed all day long because of you. We are thought of as sheep to be slaughtered.’ The one who loves us gives usan overwhelming victory in all these difficulties” (Romans 8:35-37 Romans 8:35-37 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
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, God’s Word Translation).

Anxious thought is unnecessary

What should this outstanding passage mean to you? It shows that you need not be burdened by negative thoughts and feelings or overpowered by any trial or trouble. This is absolutely true because you have the incontestable power of God and His deep love on your side. You can fully count on His unwavering commitment to always be with you and see you through every distress or difficulty so that you can ultimately obtain eternal life in His divine family. As David wrote, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4 Psalms 23:4Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.
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).

When considering this magnificent guarantee, can you see why we should all strive to overcome our anxious thoughts and worries? (See Luke 12:29 Luke 12:29And seek not you what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, neither be you of doubtful mind.
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and Philippians 4:6 Philippians 4:6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
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.) Without a doubt, you can depend unconditionally on God who said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 Hebrews 13:5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you.
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). In knowing this, the apostle Paul persistently remained emphatically optimistic even while contending with arduous trials and hardships. And you can do the same!

In addition you can, like Paul, be a loyal and zealous disciple of Jesus Christ, focusing your mind and efforts on loving and obeying God while seeking His Kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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). Paul summarized this vital conviction when he wrote, “For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 Acts 17:28For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
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). He personally accomplished this by relying not on his own paltry strength, but on the overwhelming force and the perfect guidance of his Creator.

Paul also wrote: “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 2 Corinthians 12:10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
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).

Paul and the apostle Peter knew, however, that patience and endurance were absolute requirements when undergoing trials. Peter wrote, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6 1 Peter 5:6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
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). So, it’s not by your doing and not within your time frame, but God’s.

Finally, the promises and rewards that God holds out to you are astounding! You can have the overwhelming force of God’s Spirit with you at all times and enjoy peace through strength because you know that God will help you in every battle you face (Philippians 4:6-7 Philippians 4:6-7 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
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). Plus, Jesus clearly identified what’s in store for you as one of His faithful disciples in His soon-coming Kingdom: “And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations” (Revelation 2:26 Revelation 2:26And he that overcomes, and keeps my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
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).

Therefore, stand firm in always maintaining your focus on the great goal of the Kingdom of God, and don’t allow anything to dissuade you from obtaining it. You can know with absolute certainty that God is fully willing and able “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20 Ephesians 3:20Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
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).

And what is that power? It’s the overwhelming force of God’s Holy Spirit!

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