2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Another Translation: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Our Verse of the Day revisits some direction and guidance that the Apostle Paul shared with Timothy. As you probably know, Timothy was a young convert who had sat under the teaching of the Apostle Paul “as a true son in the faith” – 1 Timothy 1:2. I think that in many ways, Timothy represents each of us who have struggled with theological and doctrinal questions as we mature in our faith and grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus. In his letters to Timothy, Paul often offered insight and wisdom to Timothy who needed encouragement to remain steadfast when challenges and hardships occurred along his own journey of faith. Here we find Paul explaining the gift and power of the Holy Spirit … and what believers should expect from Him. I’m going to reprint the verse in its surrounding context:
2 Timothy 1:1-14 (NIV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
3 I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine (honest, sincere, transparent) faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. 6 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 10 but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.
Well, this passage is filled with many exhortations, but the key point I believe we need to understand is Verse 7. When we come to faith in Christ Jesus and are born-again of the Spirit, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. We are sealed for the day of redemption. (Cf. Ephesians 4:30) And the Spirit we received is not a spirit of fear; rather, it is a spirit of power … of love … and of a sound mind. Maybe we should break that down:
Spirit of Power:
Micah 3:8 (NIV)
But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
Acts 1:8 (NIV)
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
1 Corinthians 2:4 (NIV)
And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power
People, in general, are in pursuit of power – power over their own lives, but often, power over others. But the power of the Holy Spirit appears to be more associated with the preaching, teaching, and sharing of the Gospel – the message about Christ Jesus revealed within the Word of God. The few examples I cited above are indicative of this function. Through the Holy Spirit, power is given to proclaim the Gospel. Power is necessary to go beyond reading the Bible to living out and proclaiming its truth. Why? Well, consider how timid you and I … Christians in general … are in this current age? Do we not keep our Christianity to ourselves because of fear of confrontation, intimidation, or persecution? It is not popular to take a stand based on the Word of God or you’ll be labeled narrow minded, bigoted, racist, unloving, just to name a few kinder labels.. But the Gospel was not always received or believed then … and it certainly is not much better now. Paul is telling Timothy (and us) that we have received a Spirit of Power … that overcomes this fear and intimidation. And the implication is that we need to harness that power to be effective witnesses for Christ.
The Spirit gives us power to be bold and courageous – to be fully convinced of the truth we have received through Christ Jesus so “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” (Cf. Ephesians 10:14-15) The Holy Spirit gives us power to be passionate about what we believe … and He guides our walk with wisdom toward those who are lost and ensnared in the culture of this world. The Holy Spirit gives us power to recognize and redeem every opportunity that presents itself to share the Gospel; and He empowers us to guard words with grace and to season the conversation with salt so that we might know how to answer others with their questions or their assaults. (Cf. Colossians 4:5-7)
Spirit of Love:
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance (endurance); 4 and perseverance, godly character; and godly character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
1 Peter 1:2-23 (NIV)
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere (honest, genuine, transparent) love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of perishable seed but imperishable, through the word of God which lives and abides forever.
The Spirit gives us the ability to know the love of God has for us in Christ Jesus AND the ability to love one another in deed and truth. The Spirit endues us with power to fulfill the commandments of God: To love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength … and to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is through knowing the love of God that we are enabled to love one another as He has loved us. Love is the motivation for the power we receive through the Spirit. Love for others is demonstrated through sharing the Gospel of Truth with them … both with words and with actions. (Special Topic – Love: See 1 Corinthians 13)
Spirit of a Sound Mind:
I looked up the definition of “sound mind”. Here are some of the definitions I found:
- To be sane or rational;
- To have the capacity to think, reason, and understand oneself;
- To mentally calm and self-confident in your actions.
I like these descriptions of a “sound mind” because too often people inside, and especially outside of the Church, tend to associate Spirit-filled believers with “craziness”. There have been different labels used such as “charismatics”, “holy rollers”, “snake handlers”, “Jesus freaks” to describe what I would simply characterize as “fervent or passionate”. But I think Paul wants Timothy (and us) to know that Spirit-filled believers are sane, rational, mentally calm, and possess the capacity to think and reason. And I believe it is important for us to understand that the Spirit has been given to us both to exercise freedom in the expression of praise and thanksgiving to God AND to equip us with rational, intentional thought for the purpose of engaging the culture of this world through the fruit of the Spirit. (Special Topic – Fruit of the Spirit: See Galatians 5:22-23)
2 Corinthians 5:11-13 (NIV)
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
The Spirit of God has been given us to overcome the fear and trepidation we might naturally feel when confronted by outsiders who do not believe in Christ Jesus. The Spirit has been sent to indwell us in order to complete the love of God demonstrated to us. The Holy Spirit is intelligible and He is relational. Yes, we can be cognizant of His presence and we can enjoy fellowship with Him as we do the Father and the Son! And He is imperative for us (our souls) to grow in the knowledge of God, the truth of His love, and the understanding of His will for us. Power, love, and a sound mind are essential to our fellowship with God and with one another.
I want to end with a couple of passages that I believe will drive these last few points home:
Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV)
16 I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being (soul), 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
2 Peter 1:3-8 (NIV)
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. 4 Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Well, I am not sure if I have done an adequate job here, but I hope that I have reminded you to stir up the gift of God within you … that is … to awaken the Spirit of God and His presence and power within you to proclaim the Gospel … to love others … and to do so with a sound mind and intentionality. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Indeed, we need to allow the Holy Spirit to empower and guide our spirits so that we will be effective and productive for the Kingdom of God….