Monday July 26th, 2010
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
-2 Timothy 1:7-11
I love that God has not given us a spirit of fear. In fact, His Spirit, which is perfect in love, casts out fear (Check out 1 John 4:18.) His Spirit is one of power and of a sound mind. (Ooh… perfect verse for the sound guys at church.) We are not to fear because we have the power of God living in us. Notice that He is not at our fingertips so that we can control Him, but think of it as we are His fingertips that He uses to touch others around us. A few of you may claim to have been touched directly by God, to be by yourself and alone in your thoughts, but God came down and “touched” you. He did do this in the Bible. I’m thinking Abraham, Jacob, Moses, the Disciples, and Saul (who became Paul) all had their lives changed by a direct encounter with God. However, most people are touched by God through other people. You and me. And we who go out and are the fingertips of God must first be filled with His Holy Spirit, which doesn’t fear, but has this power to change lives and a sound mind so that we do this in an organized manner. No one filled with the Holy Spirit acts like one who is filled with a demon. The Holy Spirit is orderly, and we must use the gifts He gives us in such a way.
Paul also tells us not to be ashamed. Why should we? We have the Spirit of power and of a sound mind. Why should we be afraid of what others think. There is a line drawn in the sand. (Check out Exodus 32:26) We need to make a choice and let people know where we stand. If we stand with God, and that puts us in prison, then we will rejoice in suffering for the gospel. Joseph did. Peter did. Paul did. Silas did. Barnabas did. And there are quite a few modern brothers and sisters around the world who are living today in prison for the sake of the Gospel. God has called us to be His fingertips to touch the lives around us. God wants us to pray for everyone, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3:4) In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul had been praying for God to remove a “thorn in his flesh,” but Jesus answers him in verse 9, saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
This was never plan B. Jesus going to the cross was the plan from the very beginning. God knew Eve would be tricked and He knew Adam would fall. He knew from the beginning that we would break His heart and that His Son would give His life, but He went through with it and created the world the way He did anyway. Now either our God isn’t that smart, or our God knows more than we do and there is something good at the end that makes all this pain worth going through. He was not afraid of the pain. He does not have a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power and a sound mind. That’s the God I worship. That’s the God in whose image I am being fashioned. That’s the God I love. If I have to go through pain in this life, I know that the pain is worth going through. I know that in the end, when death is abolished and immortality is not just something the Bible describes, but something I’m experiencing, and when I cannot teach or preach anymore because we will all see Him face to face, that whatever pain I went through here on Earth will be worth it, and I won’t regret a single lesson God has taught me. But for now, I will suffer. Less than most, more than some, but I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, (Philippians 4:13) but remember 2 Corinthians 12:9 says that His strength is made perfect in weakness. Well, I’m weak, Lord. I admit. Please show Your strength.