Living by the Spirit (Zechariah 4:6) - Radical

Living by the Spirit (Zechariah 4:6)

Then he said to me, this is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel. Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
-Zechariah 4:6

Maybe my favorite verse in the book of Zechariah. And certainly one of the more well-known verses. So the setting is God speaking to Zerubbabel, who was the governor and alongside Joshua, the high priest, they were leading out in the reconstruction of the temple. The rebuilding of the temple as the place where the glory of God dwelled among his people as they were returning from exile to Jerusalem. And they faced challenge after challenge after challenge, setback after setback after setback, and discouragement along the way, days when they think, “I don’t know if I can go on, is this ever going to happen? How are we going to do this?” And God says, not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, says the Lord of hosts.

When life gets hard, we will not overcome by our power or might, but through the Spirit of God.

In other words, not by your strength, not by your mind, not by power, not by the resources you bring to the table, not by all of your abilities and talents and gifts combined. Not by any of those things. This project will come to completion by my spirit says the Lord of hosts. I will do it. I will give you supernatural power to see this come to pass. And we’ve seen this over and over again throughout different minor prophets, how those who trust and the power and the strength and the resources, the gifts, the things of this world they fall. But those who trust in the power and the mercy and the grace and the provision of God, they prevail. So apply that to your life today. And don’t try to live in anyway, in anything, not even just big tasks. I can think about my life.

I can’t be the husband or the dad, can’t be the man, certainly can’t be the pastor, I can’t be the person God has called me to be in my own strength. No way, not in my own power, no way Jesus said it. It’s clear, he said it to me, he said it to you. Apart from me, you can do nothing. So live in that reality today, you need Jesus and the power of his spirit in you to do everything. Everything, not just spiritual things. And you can’t breathe apart from the power of God at work in you. Your every single moment is sustained by him.

Your every single action is not ultimately your strength, but his strength and your desire to do all that you do, every thought, every word, every deed, everything for his glory can only happen by the power of his spirit in you. So we pray, this is why we pray. We pray to express our need for God, which as a reminder, if we are not prayerful, if we’re not praying, if we’re not a prayerful people, then what we are saying is that we don’t need God. Prayerlessness is pride, period. If we are not prayerful, then we must be prideful because prayer is the avenue God has given us among other things to express our need for him. So God, we pray. We need you. We look at our lives today and we say not by might, nor by power. We just lay our dependence on ourselves aside. We have no strength apart from you.

We have no wisdom apart from you. We have no ability to overcome sin apart from you. We have no hope for holiness apart from you. Lord left to ourselves, we are hopeless, but we praise you for your mercy. We praise you for your spirit, for all who have trusted in Jesus. You have your spirit dwelling in us. So we pray, help us to live in the fullness of your spirit today. Produce the fruit of your spirit in us. We pray love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self control, cause all these things to be realities in us, we pray and God, help us. Help us to love people around us as ourselves, help us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, help us to do everything we do, and when we’re alone, when we’re around others, in our work, in our play, in everything we do, God help us to glorify you.

We need your help and everything we do, small things and big things that you’ve called us to do. So we say together before you, we don’t want to do anything by our might, anything by our power. We want to do everything by your spirit, for you’re the Lord of hosts and we desperately need you in every way for everything. And we praise you for your promise to give us your strength, to do all that you call us to do. So we pray all of this, in dependence on you, and in gratitude for your promise to give us all we need to by your spirit, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Throughout the fall, we are following the McLean Bible Church Reading Plan. You can access the reading plan here.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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