The Impotence of Personal Power

Tommy Boland

There was a season in my life when I was immersed in the field of personal development. I was a serious student of some of the most popular and sought after self-help teachers in the world. I studied the stuff; I taught it; I believed it! I had amassed a sizeable library of audio and print resources, not to mention a plethora of motivational posters, paper weights and desk-top pictures. (I probably still have a few coffee cups left over from those days!) Then Jesus showed up and taught me that I was trusting in a faulty power source. Colossians 2:8 tells us, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world and not according to Christ.” If I could go back and speak to all the people I coached in those days, I would humbly ask for their forgiveness. I would tell them that even though I was quite sincere in my self-help teachings, I was sincerely wrong! I was trying to help others maximize their potential and become peak performers without ever dealing with their real problem: sin.

Personal impotence

When you truly understand sin’s appalling grasp on mankind, self-help is rightly viewed as a delusional fantasy, promising something it can never deliver. In light of sin, personal power is absolutely impotent. We don’t need self-help books or success coaches or motivational seminars. We don’t need to repeatedly recite positive affirmations, rub crystals together or sleep under pyramids. What we need is a Savior, and His name is Jesus Christ. The Prince of Peace and His divine power is the only power powerful enough to do for us what we could never do for ourselves. In Luke 8:45-46, Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”

He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all (Luke 6:17-19).

Awesome power of Christ

personalThese are just two examples of the awesome power of Jesus. In the first, the power of Jesus went out from Him into a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years, “and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone,” (Luke 8:43). The only power powerful enough to heal her was the power of Jesus. In the second passage, the power of Jesus was going out into all kinds of sick and diseased individuals who received the only power powerful enough to heal: the power of Jesus.

When we rely on any power smaller than God, we end up right where we began–powerless! Enthusiastic drivel that ignites emotional drive ultimately leads to an empty destination. Make no mistake; no amount of personal power can do what only the power of Jesus can do. Since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the world waited for the only power that could reverse the curse–the power promised in the coming Messiah. He came! He conquered! He commanded! He cured! He called! And on the appointed day He will complete what He began almost two thousand years ago. “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet,” (Romans 16:20). So choose this day which power source you will tap into: the utter impotence of personal power . . . or the stunning omnipotence of the power of the Prince of Peace!

This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!

Rev. Tommy Boland is the men’s minister and sports minister at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. He also teaches adult Sunday school. For more information, including Bible study resource materials, please e-mail him at: [email protected] or visit For more articles by Dr. Tommy Boland, visit

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