2 Timothy 1:7
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
This verse has come up a couple of times during my prayer times this week. So the subject of spiritual empowerment appears to be something that I, perhaps we, need to think about more deeply….
That we are spiritual creatures is evident from Scripture. King Solomon wrote: Remember your Creator before the silver cord is removed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. 7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. (Cf. Ecclesiastes 12:6-7) The Prophet Daniel wrote: “I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. (Cf. Daniel 7:15) And Paul affirmed the nature of our beings when he wrote: “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (Cf. 1 Corinthians 6:20) And, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23)
So, there is an aspect of our existence that is spiritual. The spirit we have been given by God is the “life force” of our bodies and our souls; and therefore, determines and guides the course of our lives. Since we are created in the image of God (Cf. Genesis 1:27), our beings reflect His Being. Our spirits operate or function in the same manner as the Spirit of God; and this will manifest through our physical lives. Perhaps, this is why both John and Paul spent a great deal of time teaching about the Holy Spirit and His work in and through our lives. Paul, in particular, addressed the infilling of the Holy Spirit and His administration of spiritual gifts to equip and build up the Body of Christ … the Church. You can read a portion of His teaching on the subject in 1 Corinthians 12.
Anyway, this verse has stirred my thoughts regarding the work of the Holy Spirit within my own life. And I love the focus it brings upon the power we have been GIVEN. The Holy Spirit does NOT make us timid; rather, He GIVES us courage. He GIVES us confidence. He GIVES us boldness and tenacity. We do not have to remain in weakness or uncertainty of faith at all. Peter shared, “His divine power has granted to us ALL things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3) Paul indicated that the weapons of our warfare (to battle sin and evil) are NOT of the flesh (that is, not within our physical natures) but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (Cf. 2 Corinthians 10:4) So divine power is what the Holy Spirit has given us in order to live as Jesus did. (Cf. 1 John 2:6)
Notice the Holy Spirit GIVES us love. Indeed, He fills us with the everlasting love of God. So it follows that we have been given divine power to love as we have been loved by God … to fulfill His command to love others with the same love we ourselves have experienced in Christ Jesus. In addition, the Holy Spirit GIVES us divine power to exercise self-discipline or self-control. To me this means we have power over our bodies … power over our emotions … power over our tongues … power over temptation. And I believe this power is closely connected to the command to love. For how can we sincerely love others if we disrespect, dishonor, violate or abuse them through the uncontrolled impulses of our sinful nature. If our hearts are not changed by the Spirit of God, the inclinations of our sinful nature will be unabated…. Thus, His indwelling Spirit gives us power to have a renewed mind and to exercise self-control in order to love one another.
Indeed … power, love, and self-discipline … are a tri-fold manifestation of the Holy Spirit within your life and mine. And the key point here is that God GAVE us His Spirit for this unified purpose. God did not give us power over others to dominate them; rather, He gave us power to love and serve one another … to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. (Cf. Romans 12:1) He did not give us power to do as we please; rather, He gives us the power needed to exert self-control and to exhibit holiness. We should not be timid or afraid to utilize the power He gave us. On the contrary, His power should give us confidence, courage, and boldness to become all that God desires for us to be as beings created in His image. It is clear that Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. (Cf. Luke 4:1, Luke 10:21) And His disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. (Cf. Acts 2:4, Acts 4:8, Acts 4:31, Acts 9:17, Acts 13:52) It follows that we, too, are to be filled with the Holy Spirit….
Jesus spoke about the “gift” of the Holy Spirit … and that He would be sent to us. Jesus spoke about the work and role of the Holy Spirit … as an Advocate for us … as the Spirit of Truth.
John 14:15-20 (NIV)
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate (comforter) to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be (is) in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.
John 14:25-27 (NIV)
25 “All this I have spoken while still with you. 26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 15:26-27 (NIV)
26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father—He will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.
John 16:7-15 (NIV)
7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 When He comes, He will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. 12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that He will receive what He will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what He will make known to you.”
Acts 1:4-8 (NIV)
4 And being assembled together with them, Jesus commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 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.”
When we examine what Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit, we learn He is the Spirit of Truth, and He will guide us into all the truth. His purpose is to “help” us, and He will be with us forever. We will “know” Him because He will indwell us. His role is to “teach us all things” and to “remind us of everything” Jesus said. The Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus and convict the world of who He is. He will speak only what He hears … and share it with us. We shall receive divine power through Him. And this power shall enable us to be witnesses! Indeed, everything we do and everything we speak should be a testimony of the grace of God given to us through faith in Jesus Christ. So remember that every work … every gift of the Holy Spirit is for the exaltation of Jesus and the edification of His Body … the Church. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. Amen.