Airline legend tells of a cantankerous old captain who briefed his first officer by dividing the cockpit in two—raising his right hand, beginning at the overhead panel, and drawing an imaginary line down to the center console. Everything on the left was the captain’s, not to be touched by the first officer. Feeling belittled and frustrated with the captain, when it was time for his leg to fly, the first officer obeyed completely during take-off: shoving only the right thrust lever forward, sending the plane veering left. The captain shouted, “abort, abort, abort!”

While Snopes is quiet on the validity of this piece of folklore, the truth is that each modern commercial airliner engine has a ludicrous amount of power enabling these jets to operate safely following an engine failure. Though it’s still not recommended to fly on one engine, nor attempt a take-off on just one.

Which makes sense, right? I mean, if you’ve got all that extra power why not use it? Yet every day, many of us fly by the seat of our pants harnessing only the power of a single engine. There is (as Tim Taylor from Home Improvement would grunt) “more power” accessible to us: a mighty God (Isaiah 9:6). All throughout Scripture we see His power described in the Greek as “dunamis,” or loosely: “strength, power, or ability”; it’s where we get our English word for dynamite, as my pastor teaches. [1]

But do you believe that? Are you living a lifestyle—or at least making plans to this year—that requires such supernatural power? Paul encourages the Corinthians that we “have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God…” That even if we find ourselves “afflicted” we are not “crushed.” “Perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9). Even though our lives may look like plain old ordinary pottery jars, we hold this treasure, this light—the light of Christ. Available to us through the mighty God that spoke creation into existence; the One who pronounced, “let there be light.” [2] 

As a pastor, I counsel many adults and young people alike that feel crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, struck down, and destroyed—in short: overwhelmed and numb to their need for God’s power. So they either seek a safe existence, living beneath their calling, or entirely abandon their calling altogether. Striving under their own power, they embrace the superficial: fame, fortune, influence, beauty, and things that can be controlled (or at least manipulated—hello Instagram filters). However, it’s in surrender—in weakness—that His power is experienced. Danny Saavedra says this, “[The Lord doesn’t need us to be highly-skilled, extremely super-qualified geniuses.

God certainly uses people with amazing skills, talents, resources, and abilities just as He uses untrained fisherman, poor widows, and outcasts, but it’s not a preresquite for Him to do His best work.”

The Lord is looking for individuals that are “humble, available, and willing to be used.” Remember, it’s not by our power, but His power working through us. We all have a role in God’s plan for redemption: to “make disciples, preach the Gospel, and be His witnesses,” which occurs when we fire up the second engine and embrace God’s power in the following three ways:

Embrace God’s power through His Word

Of the people I counsel—and I understand, I’ve been there—they know it’s important to read the Bible, but when they pick up the Bible, they struggle to understand what they’re reading. It’s easier to binge-watch the latest Netflix Original than muscle through ancient text. However, take heart in knowing that we weren’t designed to discern the Bible on our own. Scripture says that our very understanding comes from the Holy Spirit—not by our own power, but by His revelation. So if you’re struggling to create a regular reading routine, employ discipline and spend time with the One who can—and will—reveal the meaning of His words to you. Remember: we make time for what we believe is important, and I know you desire to lean into God and His power through His Word. Create the habit and think quality over quantity.

Embrace God’s power through prayer

I love the question: “If your prayers were answered tomorrow, how would the world be different?” I think Bruce Almighty tackled this well: lot’s of lottery winners and personal dreams fulfilled. But is the world any different? If we’re honest, most of our prayers are safe—again, things we can accomplish on our own: Lord, keep us safe driving. You can do that just by putting down the phone—ouch. Sorry. We pray these safe prayers because we’re so unsure of God’s power, not equipped to process how to respond if He doesn’t answer. However, pray boldly! John writes in Revelation that all our prayers are stored in golden bowls. That’s right, God never leaves your messages on “read.” Everything you pray matters to Him. So pray courageously, and because now you know Him personally from staying in the Word, you can trust in His power—that He is indeed able—and trust in His timing.

RELATED: 3 Things Hinder God from Answering Your Prayers

Embrace God’s power through worship

In my part of the country, there is a quick-service restaurant called Raising Cane’s. It’s a fried chicken joint. No one has to force me to eat there. As a matter of fact, I can hardly wait to get my hands on their chicken and dip it in their famous Cane’s sauce.

You see, when we are living a lifestyle of embracing God’s power through His Word and in prayer, we undoubtedly begin to recognize His power and seek Him more and more.

We can’t help but want to be in His presence and spend real time worshiping Him in various ways (like living our calling, or gathering corporately as acts of worship).

In worship we find peace and strength, as Paul did, to press forward no matter our circumstances, experiencing God’s power in new ways.

James 4:8 promises us that if we draw near to God, He will be faithful to draw near in return. So as you contemplate what your new year looks like—what it looks like to honor your calling—draw near to Him through His Word, in prayer, and in worship and get ready for others to experience God’s power through your life. Here’s to a new year with both engines operating!

[1] Strong, J. (2009). A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Vol. 1, p. 24). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[2] Knowles, A. (2001). The Bible Guide (1st Augsburg books ed., p. 597). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg.

C.J. Wetzler is the student pastor at The Message Church in Lubbock, Texas. Before transitioning into full-time ministry, CJ was a commercial airline captain and high school leadership and science teacher. He loves to mentor the next generation of leaders and considers himself a fast food connoisseur. For questions or comments, connect with him on social media: @thecjwetzler.