Monday, December 30, 2013

What Kind of Spirit Do You Have?

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV (1978)
I am generally a timid person who dislikes any kind of conflict or confrontation.  While some people seem to thrive on butting heads with others, I find it to be exhausting.  As a consequence I seldom take a public stand, reserving that only for those things that are really important to me, and even then usually with reluctance.

And that's why this verse has always been so intriguing to me.  A spirit of power.  That seems so foreign to me.  And yet something that I would love to experience.  I have no interest in being in charge, preferring instead to let someone else do that.  But I would love to have the boldness to .say what needs to be said without all of the apprehension and distress that it currently causes me.

Don't get me wrong.  I have no interest in being one of those folks who say whatever comes into their minds with no concern for how it impacts those who are listening, or being attacked.  I do not believe that is what Paul is talking about.  The boldness I want to have should be equal parts power, love and self-discipline.

If I can't speak in love, then as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13, I am only a noisy gong or clanging symbol.  Love, wanting what is best for others, should be the motivation for everything I have to say, especially those things that are potentially confrontational or challenging.

I also want to be able to stay in control of my speech, something that all too many people seem unable, or unwilling to do.  Just because I think it, does not mean I have to say it; what I say should be thoughtfully considered beforehand.  How much harm is caused to the person who thoughtlessly mouths bold words; to the people who hear those words; to the people who may be attacked by those words; and to the cause of Christ because of those words?  The expression "Engage brain before putting mouth in gear" is so very applicable here.

Lord, help me to speak with power, love and self-discipline.  Overcome my timidity with your Spirit.  Let me be willing to stand true for you and be a light in a dark world.

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