February 28th, 2019
When you reflect on what a Christian is in the world what does that image look like? As we consider how we appear in this world, what image are we projecting as Disciples of Jesus?
The enemy would seek to put our light in a box and dampen the surrounding glow, but there is an obvious power we have, when if enabled can and should drastically change that image.
for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)
There are numerous other attributes we inherit as a portion of The Divine Nature we share a part of as members of the Body of Christ Jesus. They are all important, but this is the point at which the devil would seek to handicap our function as the messengers of the Good News in the world.
If we go to the Amplified Bible to get a more expanded view of these passages, we find…
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 (AMP)
Let’s take some time and break this down a little more and compare it to how we conduct ourselves as we go about our day.
To do this, we’ll identify the things that shouldn’t be present and the things that should be.
What God Does Not Give
This spirit of timidity is something that is cast on believers by the world. It’s not placed in us by God. But the image that the world portrays of Christ’s followers is one of feeble, weak timid souls; clinging to their Bibles for assurance and protection.
The number of times that the scripture instructs us not to fear, is remarkable. As I look at the counts in my Bible translation, there are 365 occurrences of the word fear and 120 instructions to “not be afraid”.
A reference to fear for every day of the year and ten instructions not to fear for every month.
It starts with the book of Genesis…
He replied, “Peace to you, do not be afraid. Your God and the God of your father has put treasure in your sacks for you. I received your money.” Then he brought Simeon out to them.
Genesis 43:23 (ESV)
And ends with the book of Revelation…
I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Revelation 2:9-10 (ESV)
God has no intent to have those who are His Children live in fear or be subject to it.
That Which God Provides
The spirit of power should be clear in the Disciples life.
It’s not surprising that this list of attributes starts with love. Jesus made it abundantly clear we are to love. We are to lead with love.
While the world might frame ‘power’ in an aggressive context, God exhibits His power in love. That love he has for us and has placed in us is power; we are to lead with that.
Paul states in the final verses of the ‘love chapter’…
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:8-13 (ESV)
Love is indelible and indestructible. The world cannot frame love in the same context as God does. The raw power of God’s love acting in us projects something which the enemy has no effective countermeasure to fight against it.
Love for our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Love for our neighbors. Love for all nations and people and even love for our enemies that despise us.
Jesus outlined each of these and one of the most powerful demonstrations of this love is found in the closing of the book of Matthew.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (ESV)
Go make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Teach them. What He promises in this is that our power is fortified by His because He is going with us and will be with us until the “end of the age.”
I know the word love doesn’t show up in these two verses, but it is in us and if we are to go, make disciples, then it will be loved shared with them, which they can share with others.
Sound judgement is folded into this spirit of power.
As we draw ever closer to Jesus, we find that the Holy Spirit councils us more and more. I’d be negligent if I didn’t point out that the wisdom of God is pure foolishness to the world. Therefore, this sound judgment part of the spirit of power, likely will not look like what the world would consider sound. It probably will seem foolish.
An example of this is giving away part of your income; that’s just foolishness. You could use the money for something you need or want. Another is exhibiting kindness to those you don’t know; the world would say, ‘look I have my life and they have their own, better I say in my lane’.
Personal discipline is present in the spirit of power as well.
Here is where we have a struggle on a more frequent basis than anything else required in our walk with the Lord. The battle between the Spirit and the flesh is a constant war in our bodies.
God gives us the power to overcome the flesh through His Devine Nature which we share a part of. Therein is power.
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:4 (ESV)
This doesn’t say you can overcome them, you HAVE. Jesus sees what the outcome is, and we have overcome the flesh. The power living in us is unbroachable because it is the power of Christ Jesus!
With this power, coupled with the personal discipline part of the spirit of power, 2 Timothy 1:7 told us it results “in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control.”
We have the power in us for this.
All we have to do is tap into it and be faithful to our charge. No more wimpy Christian. “The obvious power” lives in us today and every day.
In His Grace,