For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control. - 2 Timothy 1:7
In this verse, it's important to note how Paul draws a clear contrast between a spirit of fear and these three characteristics - power, love, self-control. This is like the litmus test of fear. If you can answer yes to the questions below, you have a spirit of fear. But there's hope. With God, there's always hope. His remedy for all sin and infirmity is still the same: His precious Son, Jesus Christ, and the power of His Word!
This is a good reminder for us during this season of fear and hysteria. Whatever fear you're facing today, whether it's the COVID-19 disease or a lack-of-faith disease, the only way back is through the 'living and active' Word of God. On a similar note, I recently saved a good quote that I saw from a pastor I follow on Instagram. This might be helpful for someone, so here it is: Coronavirus can only cause the first death, which is physical death. But sin produces the second death, which is eternal death. Fear what is far greater (Steve Lawson).
As we will see, the Holy Spirit produces all three of these characteristics in us (power, love, self-control). Connect with the verses and Biblical action steps below and pray through to deliverance!
When Paul wrote to Timothy, he used a lot of imagery and symbolism about bravery and strength. It's very possible that he wanted to encourage him as he was growing and leading the church in Ephesus. This was a big responsibility for a young man. It must be why Paul wrote at one point, 'Let no one despise your youth (1 Tim. 4:12).' Paul reminds Timothy that he is being prayed for, and that he comes from a family that knew God and believed in His Word. Paul also reassures Timothy that they are both serving the same God, who gave them a spirit of 'power and love and self-control.'
1. Do you lack power?
Power has always been, and always will be, a vital part of Gods work. It is part of who He is, the all-powerful God (omnipotent). In 1 Corinthians 6:14, we see that God raised the Lord Jesus from the grave and will also raise us up, by His own power! His power, not ours!
What does it mean to have (spiritual) power?
In the New Testament, the Greek word translated "power" is dunamis, the source of the English words dynamic and dynamite, both of which are (or can be) associated with "power." Dunamis can also be translated "mighty works" and "wonderful works."
In Acts 1:8, just before Christ ascends to heaven, He shares some final words and instructions with His disciples: 'But you shall receive power [dunamis] when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. . . .' Jesus connects the Holy Spirit with power---dunamis (see Luke 24:49). I cannot be a witness without having power. I cannot have power without having the Holy Spirit. Similarly, in our main verse from this lesson, Paul tells Timothy that Christians have not been given 'a spirit of fear, but of power [dunamis] . . .'. Together, these verses show that the Holy Spirit gives a person the effectiveness for God's will and God's work to be done through them. This is what it means to have power. If I can do the work of God and the will of God through the leading of the Holy Spirit, I have power. If not, I don't have it.
Who gives us power? Who renews our strength? The Lord does:
a. Pray for power. Jesus promised that He will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13).
b. Feed on things that will strengthen your walk in the Spirit not your walk in the flesh.
c. Abide in Christ. The only way to produce fruit is to abide in Him (see John 15). How? Do things on a daily, weekly and monthly basis that orient your heart and desires toward Christ.
2. Do you have love?
God is love. Not was, not will be, He IS love. What are you? Are you filled with the love of God? Is the Spirit of God manifesting the love of God through you? This agape love is the sacrificial, God-rooted love, that is shown through action, in all seasons of life. A sign that you have a spirit of fear is that you act and speak with no love. There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out all fear...(1 John 4:8).
Love is the first characteristic of the Fruit of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22,23). In the same way that I cannot have power and be a witness without the Spirit of God, I cannot manifest (true) love without being filled with the Spirit. Call it a spiritual law.
So, how does the Spirit of God produce love? John Piper writes, The answer seems to be that the Holy Spirit loves to glorify the all-satisfying dependability of Christ and his Word (John 16:14: “[The Spirit] shall glorify me”). If the Holy Spirit simply caused acts of love in the human heart without any clear, ongoing causal connection between love, on the one hand, and faith in Christ’s promises, on the other hand, then it would not be plain that Christ’s all-satisfying dependability is honored through love. But the Spirit is utterly committed to getting glory for Jesus. Therefore, he keeps himself quietly beneath the surface, as it were, and puts forward “hearing with faith” as the conscious cause of love.
a. Stay in the Word - The Word of God will produce faith. Faith will produce love.
b. Glorify Jesus - Look constantly to Him. Think about Him. Praise Him. Honor Him for who He is.
c. Walk by the Spirit - So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh (Gal.5:16).
3. Have you lost self-control?
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls (Proverbs 25:28). In ancient times of war, cities were kept safe when the wall surrounding it was in place. When the walls were broken this gave the enemy a path of entrance to be able to conduct all sorts of harm and destruction.
Are the walls of your heart up or have they been broken down? Do you still live with clear hedges established by God's Word or are you living by the lusts of your flesh? We lose self-control when we live outside the safe place God has prepared for us; '...under His wings you will find refuge (see Psalm 91:4).' When I live in sin and regularly make unwise decisions, that give a foothold to the devil (see Eph. 4:27), this is a sure sign that I have no self-control. The walls are broken.
In his article, 'Why we build walls: 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall', Robin Niblett writes: The Berlin Wall was important physically, as well as psychologically, because Berlin was the only city that was divided physically by the Cold War between the Soviet Union and its allies in the Eastern Bloc and the West...Because of its psychological as well as its physical significance, the fall of the Berlin Wall quickly became the symbol of the collapse of the communist ideology it had shielded.
The collapse of spiritual walls is a symbol of a life lived in the flesh. A passerby can now do what they want. In Psalm 80, the psalmist cries out to almighty God for deliverance, asking Him to restore Israel, His people. In verse 12 he asks, 'Why have You broken down its hedges, so that all who pass that way pick its fruit?' The writer, likely Asaph, knew that if the walls were gone, anyone who passes by can simply enter in and take the good of the land. Through my own efforts I can't defend against the attacks of the enemy. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain (Psalm 127:1). The good news about this wall is that it's already paid for and built, we don't have to rely on other countries to pitch in or a certain political party to vote for it. You can have it today. Right now.
Self-control is produced by the Spirit of God (again, see Galatians 5:22,23). Once my mind has been transformed by the Word of God, I will desire the things of God. As I consistently walk after the things of God I will live with self-control. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit will all be at work in my life, in abundance, protecting me from the enemies that are constantly attacking me: sin, the devil and my flesh.
a. Find refuge in God, not people or things.
b. Re-establish Biblical hedges (walls) for your life. Make a list. For example: Watch and pray that you will not fall in temptation. Make the discipline of prayer a regular part of your life.
c. Walk after the things of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will manifest self-control in your life when you are obedient to the Word of God.
These are tried and true tips for living in victory. Not because I said it but because God says it! They will help us all keep the fire burning...
with Danny & Daniela Kovacs
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