Power, Love and a Sound Mind…
You know how you can read a verse dozens of times… even hundreds, then one day you read it and suddenly it says something different to you? That happened to me yesterday.
“…for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1.7
Dealing with Fear
Most times this verse is cited in an effort to encourage us to not be overwhelmed by fear; indicating that, while fear may “come to visit,” we don’t need to invite it in to live with us. The Spirit of God was poured out on the day of Pentecost so that a different spirit would be at work in us… empowering us to live above fear.
There’s no question, it’s absolutely an appropriate interpretation of this verse, but there’s more…
Crippled by Fear
Verse 7 falls on the heals of the following, verse 6, where Paul encourages Timothy to “… stir up the gift of God within him, that he received by Paul’s having prayed & laid hands on him.” (paraphrase). It’s as though something that Timothy was called to do (a gift he’d been given to exercise) had been stifled out of fear and Paul was wanting to “cheer him on”: to encourage him to “get back up on the bike and ride again, after taking an unexpected tumble.”
Timothy need not be limited by a spirit of fear when another spirit, the Holy Spirit, had equipped him for more.
The French translation of this verse, rather than “sound mind” uses the term “sagesse” (wisdom) which added a neat dimension for me.
In this verse, we see that this gift he’d been given, the gift of God’s Spirit, is given to us for three purposes (the Bible gives several more reasons or purposes for the Holy Spirit, but let’s limit our look to this one for now):
- To give us power
- To give us love
- To give us “wisdom”
…but balance is the key. Look what happens when the three are not balanced:
- Power … without love it leads to abuse and without wisdom leads to corruption.
- Love… without exercising some measure of power makes us a continual doormat to those who would walk over us. Love without wisdom can cause us to spoil the object of our love…. in the case of children, it can inhibit them from properly maturing.
- Wisdom… without power remains fruitless. A great idea must be executed for its value to be measured. Wisdom without love leads to detachment – an inability to either (a) get others involved in your good idea or (b) give you a good enough reason to implement your idea.
Individually, each of those three characteristics has the potential for incredible value, but each one working in the absence of the others also has the potential for incredible hurt.
Just imagine, however, the potential of all three working together… in balance.
I Need More of God’s Spirit
Try as I might, to achieve balance with these three things I will likely fail as often as I succeed because my humanity gets in the way. Whether words spoken before coffee or in unresolved anger… I have the potential, indeed the reflex, to react to fear in my own strength and resources.
If I will actively seek to react by seeking out HIS Spirit however, there’s a chance that I’ll handle things, that those around me will have a more positive experience and I’ll have overcome the fear and matured in the process.
IF I will do that. IF I will seek to grow in that manner… to strike a balance between power, love and wisdom…
There’s a greater chance that I’ll truly be able to fan into flame the gift that God has given me… the talents, gifts and abilities which, when used properly, bring me contentment and point people to Him. I will truly have served a greater purpose.
“God hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (wisdom).”
2 Timothy 1.7
Don’t be afraid today… let God’s Spirit bring you balance!
Mike Long is a Canadian pastor living in France and who blogs over at AIMLong.ca. He loves God, his family, small backyard animals, travel and mobile photography. He recently published Paris 3 Days No Stress: A Travel Guide, available on Amazon.
He is grateful for the opportunity to guest-post for Maria
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