Although the definition of these words is very similar, meaning to give someone the ability to do something, the connotation (general usage) is that to empower is to help someone do something beneficial for themselves, and to enable is when we allow someone or support them in doing things harmful to themselves. For instance, we empower people to feel good about their job by paying them a fair wage, and we enable people to hurt themselves when we give money to a homeless person (unfortunately, the money usually goes to drugs or booze- that’s why I don’t give money to beggars but I do offer to buy them food. It takes more of my time to get them something, and it costs more than just giving them change, but it helps them more, and I feel much better. Try it.)
Therefore, if you allow me these usages (’empowering’ is good for you and ‘enabling’ is bad for you), the question today is, “What is your religious leader doing for you spiritually? Are you being empowered to do as the Lord asks, or are you being enabled to do what is easy and comfortable for you by being given ‘excuses’ for ignoring God’s commands?”
Another way to look at this is to start by remembering that God has told us, over and over, how He will bless us when we do as he commands, but when we refuse (i.e., reject Him) we will be cursed and will not receive those blessings (check out the beginning of Vayikra and D’varim, Chapter 28, as well as N’Varim, the writings of the Prophets.) If you are being taught that the Torah is still valid and that Yeshua (Jesus) observed Torah and taught others to do the same, and that Shaul (Paul) did not say ignore Torah but only was talking about how Torah will not be needed AFTER Yeshua returns and is still necessary and should be observed, then you are being empowered to receive all of God’s blessings.
On the other hand, if you are being taught Replacement Theology (the Jews are no longer the Chosen people) and that Yeshua did away with “the Law” so that all you need to do to be saved is ask God for forgiveness and you can pretty much go on living as you have, you are being enabled to sin. And if you lead a sinful life, without any concern for God’s commandments or ordinances, you will not receive His blessings (other than the ones He will probably still give you, now and then, only because He is a loving and compassionate God) and you may find yourself being told by Yeshua that He does not know you.
Don’t forget those parables about the maidens who were left out of the wedding, even though they were invited, because they came up short-handed at the time the groom arrived; and that Yeshua told us there are many who will call Him Lord but at the Judgement He will reject them because they did not follow Him. Check it out in Luke 6 (“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?), and it’s also in Matthew. Didn’t Yeshua say that if we love Him we will do as He commands? And what did he command us to do? To follow Him, and He followed Torah, so we need to follow Torah, too.
Yeshua did as His father told Him to do, which is what God tells us all to do, which is found in the Torah. God has no religion, only Torah. Yeshua is the living Torah, so to ignore the Torah is, literally, to ignore Yeshua. And if you ignore Yeshua you will not be on the path to salvation, you will be traveling the Highway to Hell.
I am not saying you will absolutely go to hell if you don’t completely follow Torah, because just trying to observe Torah will not save you. Faith will save you, but if you CAN follow Torah…if you can live every stroke of the pen in Torah as Yeshua did, then you don’t need Yeshua to be your sin sacrifice. Of course, if any human being could follow Torah exactly and completely, then that person would screw up the curve and Yeshua wouldn’t be needed. That means there would be three people in heaven: God, Yeshua and that one creep who ruined it for the rest of us!
It comes down to this: we are saved by faith. Faithfully believing in the existence of God, faithfully believing that Yeshua is the Messiah who sacrificed His life as a sin sacrifice for all of us, AND faithfully doing T’Shuvah, which is demonstrated and proven by spending the rest of our lives sinning less by obeying God more. That means that following the Torah will not necessarily get you into heaven, and not following it will not necessarily keep you out, but the more you follow it the more blessings you will receive on Earth (as God promises), the more fruit you will produce to bring before the Lord at Judgement Day, and the closer you will be to Yeshua.
If you are being told that you need to obey God, which means all that God says we should do to worship Him as He commands us to do in the Torah and as Yeshua confirms we should do, then your religious leaders are empowering you to receive God’s blessings and helping you to be the greatest in the Kingdom of God.
If you are being told by your religious leaders that the Torah is dead, all you need to do is accept Jesus as your Saviour, ask for forgiveness and (pretty much) that’s all it takes- it is set, it can’t be taken away and your are guaranteed to go to heaven so long as you are a “good” person, then you are being enabled to sin and they are separating you from God, preventing you from receiving all His blessings, and possibly giving you a ticket straight to Sheol.
It’s up to you to decide what you will do, not anyone else, because God will hold you totally accountable for what you do.