We may not readily ponder the efficacious nature of God as part of our spiritual disciplines, however, a deeper understanding of this creates a deep trust in the omnipotent character revealed in a supernatural God. The short definition is the ability or capacity to produce the results one desires or intends to occur.
This is actively seen in God’s creation, the hope of salvation in Jesus and forgiveness for our sins. We can have a relationship with the Creator of the universe because of the capacity God has, as a supernatural God, to control the intended result. God’s plan cannot be diverted, thwarted or altered. So is this just a fancy way of saying effective? Well, yes and no. Let me explain.
A Word From Science
It may appear to be an obscure place to define a theological term, but there is an intriguing correlation found in the Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology journal. The article of interest was titled, A Primer of Effectiveness and Efficacy Trials. The differing approaches in medical testing have compelling application to our spiritual lives. This article states, “Efficacy studies investigate the benefits and harms of an intervention under highly controlled conditions…Effectiveness studies (also known as pragmatic studies) examine interventions under circumstances that more closely approach real-world practice”(Singal, Higgins, Wlajee, 2014.)
These two definitions, used for medical research, show the difference between efficacy and effectiveness giving more weight to effectiveness. The presupposition is that there are human and methodological flaws making efficacy impossible. To the person that does not believe there is a God, this may be true. For those who believe in a supernatural, interactive, living God, efficacy is believed and expected. God provides the, “highly controlled conditions.” The truth of the Bible states that though we have been given free will, God controls the conditions. God is not affected by circumstances and whims of carnal life. God governs and maintains the world with an attentiveness like a mother with her child. So, what does this have to do with a deeper understanding of God? The beauty of trusting an Almighty God is that he is perfect, he is powerful and he is in control.
God is perfect
“As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.” (Ps. 18:30, NIV) The efficaciousness of God shows us that his plan and path for my life is without flaw. I can trust his plan.
God is powerful
“God is mighty, but despises no one; he is mighty, and firm in his purpose.” (Job 36:5) God’s all-powerful work far outweighs my failure. I can trust his purpose.
God is in control
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa. 41:10) No matter what we are facing, God is there and consumes our past, present and future with his love and provision.
Be encouraged, the efficacious nature of God is present in your life. He loves you and desires a wonderful destiny for your life as you live in surrender to him.
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Singal, Amit, Higgins, Peter, Waljee, Akbar. (2014), A Primer on Effectiveness and Efficacy Trials Clinical and Translational Gastroenterology. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3912314/