As a professor, it is tempting to forget the purpose of school. Well, the purpose of school is NOT school. It is life! It is tempting to think the purpose is turning in papers, reading texts, passing exams, and making the grade. Reality Check: None of that matters unless and only if those activities help you live true to your best each day.
In fact, I will push it a bit further. There are some things (the most important things) you cannot learn in school, but can only learn them through living. You can not learn to swim in a library, you can only learn to swim when your jump in the lake.
So, living helps you learn, and learning helps you live. That is empowerment. Empowerment is seen when life has meaning, when you are confident, when you make good choices, and when you make a difference.
For followers of Christ, empowerment is a gift from Him:
I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10, NIV).
For followers of Christ, empowerment is following Christ in His Spirit:
If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. … the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:15-17, 26, NIV).
For followers of Christ, empowerment is a advancing His purpose in the world:
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:17-21).
Here is my definition of Spiritual Empowerment:
Spiritual Empowerment: To cooperate with the Holy Spirit in following and advancing the mission of Christ’s as we live true to our best in Him each day.
Each Spring, when I see my students walk across the stage, receive their diplomas, and have their pictures taken with the president of the university, I don’t think about texts, tests, and assignments. I pray that they are empowered to live, and live true to their best in Christ.
To apply and personalize spiritual empowerment, consider these questions:
- How does Christ make a difference your understanding of the meaning of your life?
- In what ways has Christ become your confidence in the face of life’s challenges?
- Why are your choices different because you life in and through the Spirit of Christ?
- What do you think Christ would like to do in and through you to make a difference?
Copyright © Richard Leslie Parrott, Ph.D.