Read: Jeremiah 39:1-41:18, 2 Timothy 1:1-18, Psalm 90:1-91:16, Proverbs 26:1-2
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Relate: Power. Love. Self-Discipline. These three don’t seem to be three traits that fit together. When I think of power, I think of John the Baptist’s “Spirit and fire”. When I think of love I think along the lines of mercy and grace. Self-discipline would get paired in my mind with faithfulness and perseverance. I can’t think of anyone in the contemporary world who I would use these three traits together to describe them.
Except maybe Billy Graham. Just watch people flood to the altars at the conclusion of one of his crusades and you can see how he speaks with power. Better yet, just listen yourself. Either you’re spiritually deaf or God will be tugging at your heart strings through his message. If you listen to some of the interviews he has done, you can see how he is motivated by love. God has given him a huge heart for the lost. His self discipline is evident when you see the measures the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has set up to keep each other accountable. The fact they have been in the limelight for as long as they have without even a hint of a scandal (and you know many skeptics have tried hard to find something, anything) speaks volumes.
I would also say Mother Theresa would fit these descriptors. She had given up a fairly comfortable cloistered life to live among the poorest of the poor and demanded the same from any who came to work with her. Love… seriously, does this one even need an explanation? The power does seem counter intuitive for her until you realize that she has been before the greatest of kings and congresses. When she does, she pulls no punches in speaking the truth (even if she does so in her soft, gentle voice) and they listen, and remember.
React: Billy Graham. Mother Theresa. And of course, Jesus. Perhaps these three traits do fit together quite well after all. It makes more sense when you look at the verse as a whole. I don’t need fear because I have power. My love motivates me to act in spite of my fear. My self discipline will help me to push through and fears and doubts I might have. So if fear and timidity are a part of my life then I need to be praying that God will fill me, and keep on filling me with His Spirit. Because His Spirit moves in power, and with love, producing in me self discipline.
Respond: God, I ask You to fill me again with Your Spirit. As I walk this life, help me to do so with Your power. Nothing is too great for You. Let Your love be my motivating passion. Let the love You have for others flow through me in all my actions and conversations with others. Help me to live a disciplined life. Help me to have a greater portion of self control, not just for the few minutes after I finish praying this but throughout my day. And the next day. And the next. And the next. Right up until the day I get to see You face to face in heaven.