Power, Love, and a Sound Mind

"For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)

This little verse is full of information. In the previous verse, Paul insisted that Timothy "stir up" the gift that he had received and use it as it was intended because God did not give us a "spirit of fear."

The Greek word deilia, translated as "fear," stresses timidity or cowardice as opposed to terror. God's gift does not function well if we are too timid to use it. His gift has power, love, and a "sound mind."

The gift is not power. God's gift (whatever it may be) comes with dunamis--the innate ability to carry out the gift. All the Twice-Born are given "the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20). Whatever the Holy Spirit has gifted us with upon our entrance into His kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:11), He has also given the necessary power to implement and use that gift.

Your gift also comes with love. Again, "love" is not the gift but part of the character of our Lord Jesus and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Were it not for the reflection in us of the unilateral and sacrificial love of our Redeemer, these supernatural gifts could be misused, distorted, and abused for personal glory. Diotrephes misused his gift, failing to use the spirit of love (3 John 1:9).

Sophronismos is the unique Greek word used to describe the spirit of a "sound mind" that is given to us with our gift. It's a combination of the Greek verbs translated as "to save" and "to control." Its basic meaning would be "safe control" or "wholesome control"--perhaps even "control that saves."

With our spiritual gifts comes the perfect combination of abilities that empower the gift, the love that keeps the gifts focused on others, and the "safety controls" that keep it from doing damage unwittingly. HMM III

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