But of Power and Love

2 Timothy 1:5-7 ESV

“I am reminded of your sincere faith… For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

The gift of God

The “gift of God” is described in the Scriptures in various ways. Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, was God’s gift to humanity. It also speaks of the Holy Spirit indwelling and empowering the lives of believers in Jesus Christ. It is also described as God’s grace to us, as our salvation from sin, as our eternal life with God, as the gift of righteousness, and as our faith in Jesus.

[Jn 3:16; Jn 4; Rom 5:15-21; Rom 6:23; 2 Co 9:15; Eph 2:8-10; 2 Tim 1:5-7; Jn 1:9; Jn 3:34; Jn 4:14; Jn 6:32, 63; Jn 10:28; Jn 17:14]

Also, when we believe in Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, we are given spiritual gifts of the Spirit of God to be used of God to encourage and to strengthen the body of Christ and to share Jesus with the world around us. And God assigns each of us parts in his body which he designed for us to fulfill which is his calling upon our individual lives.

[Rom 12; 1 Co 12-14; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:15-21; Col 3:15-17]

Fan into flame

When a fire, which we desire to have, is about to go out, we fan it into flame by adding additional fuel to the fire, or more wood, and then we blow on it or we use a fan of some kind to blow on it to reignite the fire, to get it going again, whether the fire is used for cooking or for heating or for whatever.

Well, when we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, God ignites a spiritual flame within us of holiness, righteousness, purity, sacrifice, obedience, submission, the forsaking of our sins, and love for God and for our fellow humans, and a desire to now live to God and to his righteousness.

If this was not our experience, then perhaps we have a belief in a false gospel disguised as the true gospel and so our spiritual flame was never lit to begin with. For, if we did not die with Christ to sin, if we did not leave our sinful practices behind us to follow Jesus in obedience, that is a false faith.

But even those with genuine faith in Jesus, who died with him to sin, and who were (or are still) living to him and to his righteousness, still live in flesh bodies. We still have the propensity to sin against God, and we still can be led astray and fall back into sin, and we can wander from our faith.

Even those with genuine faith in Jesus Christ can face circumstances which are troublesome, and which may be fearful, and they/we may have times when we lack the faith we need to persevere, and to keep pressing on, and to trust in God’s sovereignty over our lives.

And so our flame begins to lose its power and strength and it needs to be reignited. And this is where we turn to our Lord in prayer, and we humbly repent of all sins, and we commit ourselves to following the Lord Jesus wholeheartedly, no matter what life throws at us.

And thus we persevere despite all that is going on all around us, and we submit to Jesus as Lord, and we walk in obedience to his commands, and we live holy lives, pleasing to him, and we use the gifts he has given to us, in his power and under his direction, and we obey the calling he has on our lives. And we don’t shrink back, no matter what comes our way.

Spirit not of fear but power

For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, not our own willpower, and not human strength and wisdom, but Holy Spirit power. We never have to be afraid of anyone or anything because God is still all powerful, he is still fully sovereign over every aspect of our lives, and he is still in control.

It is never a good idea, thus, to take matters into our own hands to try to help God out because we think he is asleep or that he needs our help or that he is not capable of handling our circumstances. And it is never a good idea to fret and to worry as though we think that will make things better.

And it is definitely not a good idea to respond to fear with sin, or to difficult circumstances with sin. Escaping into any form of sinful behavior never solves our problems. It only makes them worse. Escaping into sin in order to drown out our problems only adds on more problems. Not good!!

Spirit of love

This kind of love comes from God and thus it submits to God and to his will for our lives. It prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, moral, honest, trustworthy, faithful, and obedient to God. And love does no harm to its neighbor. It does not choose to sin against others.

If we are loving God and loving others with God-given love which prefers what God prefers, we aren’t going to deliberately, habitually, and premeditatedly sin against God and other humans. We will not cheat on, lie to, commit adultery against, trick, manipulate or otherwise abuse our spouses. But we will treat them with honor, love, and respect.

Our view of love, therefore, will not be that of the lusts of the flesh, or of selfish desires, or of taking advantage of others to fulfill our fleshly appetites. This love won’t be based in our emotions (feelings) which may or may not discern between evil and good, and wrong and right, and we may let our emotions dictate to us that since wrong feels good it must be right.

Romance, although it may feel good at the moment, and it may give us a temporary high, is superficial, at best, and is often deceptive and manipulative. Many people who see romance as love will go looking for romance outside of marriage which will then destroy their marriage.

Spirit of self-control

Self-control needs to accompany love, for people end up doing stupid things for the sake of romance or that feeling of exhilaration which they get from a romantic relationship with someone else. So, they commit adultery, destroy their marriages, do damage to their families, and ruin their own lives.

They go after the “feeling” out of utter selfishness, and out of willful desire to do what they know is wrong because it makes them “feel good inside.” And they abandon all sense of right and wrong, and all sense of propriety and decency, and all sense of the true meaning of love without regard for who gets hurt in the process, because they want their “fix.”

They don’t care what consequences their wrong choices bring about because it is all for the pleasure of the moment, and because they don’t really believe there will be consequences, in some cases. They have this false sense that they are above the law and that nothing bad will befall them and that is why they are able to do what is stupid.

So, if this is where you are, if you have let your feelings rule your life and if you have lost self-control, and if you are deliberately and habitually sinning against God and others, out of utter selfishness, so that you can get that feeling of exhilaration, but you call yourself a Christian, please take to heart what the Scriptures teach. If you live in sin, you will die in your sins.

So, repent of your sins, turn your lives over to Jesus Christ, and surrender to him to walk in obedience to his commands. And if you were walking in faithful obedience to the Lord, but you have wandered from your pure devotion to the Lord, then in the Spirit’s power fan back into flame the gift of God within you and do not give way to sin and to fear.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:7; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10]

Anniversary Song

By Ann Aschauer

Well, some folks think that “love” means emotion,
So it comes and goes their whole life through.
Some folks never know that when the magic goes,
If you keep on lovin’, it’ll come back to you.
I was so afraid we’d lose the special feeling,
And someday we’d find our love wasn’t true,
But then God opened up my eyes and made me realize,
Love is not what you feel, it’s what you do.

And so we stood side by side at the altar,
As our wills and God’s power combined.
With His help I could say, “I do love you today,
And I will for a long, long time.”

c 1987 Ann Aschauer
Used by permission

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