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

Taken For Granted

“Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

Each of us has a heartfelt need to be honored and respected. All too often, however, we take our spouses for granted at home. Is it any wonder that so many mothers hold down jobs in the workplace today? Many work for financial reasons, but some do so to find the recognition and praise they don’t get from their mates. Could this also be why many men spend excessive hours at work—to receive from colleagues the accolades that they don’t get at home?

Your partner is a jack‐of‐all‐trades who brings a host of skills to your marriage: provider, short‐order cook, nurse, counselor, financial planner, gardener, arbiter of sibling disputes, spiritual leader, comforter, and much more. We encourage you to show your appreciation for these talents and services. Tell your wife how much you enjoy her cooking. Send your husband to work with a note praising him for his good judgment with the family budget. In front of guests, compliment her taste in home decor and his wise guidance of the children.

If we don’t make our mate feel honored and respected, we may find our partner looking for recognition somewhere else.

Just between us…

  • What couple do we know who is an example to us of honoring each other?
  • Do we honor each other well?
  • What opportunities to bestow honor have we missed?

Have we sought recognition elsewhere because we weren’t receiving enough at home?

Heavenly Father, forgive us for any self-centeredness or lack of consideration in our marriage. Please teach us to make honoring our spouse a reflex action, not a begrudging afterthought. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

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He is Compassionate, Day 3

 

 

Today’s reading is drawn from Psalm 34:18, Psalm 103:8, Lamentations 3:22-23, Numbers 14:18.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.

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Courageous Wisdom, Day 3

Today’s reading is drawn from Proverbs 23:15-16.

Observation

In this proverb, God reveals what brings him pleasure: people who live with wise hearts and who speak what is right.

Notice that shrewd minds do not please God. Neither do talents, successful businesses or large ministries. The bottom line is that he delights in people who are wise in heart and have the courage to speak what is right.

Application

Making wise decisions and speaking what is right will not win us any popularity contests. It may even be contested by those closest to us, but we must still take time to consider the situation, ponder it deeply and make decisions that will be the best for all involved.

Courage to stand up for what is right sometimes seems in short supply, but it is abundant in those who refuse anything less than God’s best. Here is the prerequisite: a deep desire to do what is best, regardless of the emotional trauma the soul must endure in pressing forward, anticipating push-backs and possible rejections. No one likes it when their faults are exposed or they are called to change. But following God includes handling confrontation and disagreement in a godly manner.

Prayer

Father, give me the courage to be wise, to be committed to each person’s best in my life, and in return, to feel your pleasure and delight.

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