Recently God was talking to me about confidence, and He reminded me that when we call on Jesus to lead our lives, we receive His Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind. I think about this all the time. What it means to have a spirit of power or of love or of a sound mind? I wonder if I’m allowing Him to fill me with power, love, and a sound mind.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
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 (KJV)
This time He helped me see it’s not a spirit of power sometimes, a spirit of love other times, and a sound mind only when we need it. It’s all three. All the time. Power, love, and a sound mind. Because they go together.
When we allow God to inform our thoughts, to open our eyes and renew our mind, we can see as we didn’t see before. We know right from wrong. We know what He’s asking us to do.
That renewed mind not only gives us power over sinful thoughts, temptations, and ugly emotions. The Spirit gives us the power to do what’s right, and the ability to do it with love.
We are exercising power, love, and a sound mind all at once. We are more than conquerors through our Savior.
But here’s the other thing. The first part of the verse says, but God did not give us a spirit of fear and timidity. And there’s a reason for that, too. Because when we function from a place of fear (anxiety, not wanting to displease others, not wanting to rock the boat, fear of failure, fear of not having enough) or timidity (inability to voice the truth, inability to voice how we’re really feeling, inability to be the people we are created to be) we’re not going to operate from a place of love.
Because eventually we’re going to become bitter. And we’re going to resent whatever it is around us that we keep saying yes to when we want to say no. Or whatever we keep standing silently by when we should speak up. And that resentment is going to affect the way we feel about everything else around us and our understanding of God’s love.
Instead of stepping up in power and confronting the issue in love (with the power of one who can model another way or make another choice), we’ll be overpowered by it. Instead of operating with the agency of the Holy Spirit, we’ll be overtaken by bitterness that comes from feeling a lack of control.
Even when we know this isn’t our home. Even as we anxiously await Christ’s coming or the day we see Him face to face in heaven, and I do anxiously await those things, don’t you also struggle with wanting this world to be just a little easier? Sometimes I understand the people who are bitter and angry and hurt. I’ve been one of them. And Christ healed me of those feelings.
But man… when I’m not sticking close to Him, it’s easy to let those feelings happen again and need to be healed all over again.
So we are more than conquerors. But we’re still at war against an enemy that, while he’s already lost, isn’t going down without a fight.
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
I’d love to pretend it’s not the case, but I’d be wrong. So let’s continue to be conquerors. Let’s hold tight to our inheritance as coheirs. Let’s encourage each other on when one of us is weary, tired, worn out to the bone, and ready to give up. But seriously, let’s never stop praying for the Spirit to intervene. For Him to make His home in our hearts. For His power, love, and sound mind. Because we can’t go a day without it. And our very inner lives depend on it.
Watercolor of 2 Timothy 1:7 by Stephanie Oh.