I wanted to share some thoughts about a verse that I keep returning to lately…
2 Timothy 1:7
…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
The apostle Paul, here, is encouraging Timothy to think about what God has given them both… a spirit of “power and love and self-control.” Jesus had also mentioned this wonderful gift just prior to His ascension into heaven, after He had spent time with the disciples during the 40 days after He had risen from the grave…
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
We (like Paul and Timothy) are a part of that “end of the earth” time of witnessing, and (like Paul and Timothy) we are believers. Therefore, we have good reason to believe that we have also been given this same spirit of “power and love and self-control.”
A great way to think of “spirit” is disposition. The state or condition of our being can be characterized by our disposition (spirit). As Christians, our state of being is now different since repentance and faith. God has now given us not “a spirit not of fear,” but a spirit of something different… God Himself. In other words, He has given us His disposition. By the Holy Spirit’s indwelling of us, we now have the ability to love like never before, control ourselves like never before, and we now also possess a power which enables us to boldly represent Christ (image Him if you will) in a fallen world, which was not possible before our conversion. It is what Paul encouraged the Romans with when he wrote to them…
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And, later in that same letter…
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Our being conformed into Christ’s image through His Spirit takes time. It requires a mind renewal through testing. As much as we might not like this process, that is how God teaches us to discern what His will is… “what is good and acceptable and perfect” (with regards to how we are supposed live and respond to the situations that we find ourselves in). In other words, until we start to realize the power that we have been given, our love and self-control (our disposition) will not be what it ought to be…
Godspeed, to the brethren!