Over the past couple years or so, I've had the privilege of meeting with a young man who will soon be entering full-time ministry. It's been a joy for me to spend time with him and mutually encourage one another in the faith. My goal for our time together has been for us to more clearly understand our role as ministers of the gospel and to grow in Christ-like character. At the beginning of the summer we started walking through the pastoral epistles. Since then, we have finished up 1 Timothy, and now we are currently on the second chapter of 2 Timothy. As we studied 2 Timothy chapter 1, I was struck with one verse in particular. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul reminds Timothy, "for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." Knowing that Timothy was a rather timid young man has helped me since I can often feel the same way. But I find it interesting how Paul encourages Timothy with this reminder. It's as if he's taking Timothy by the hand and saying, "Timothy, you seem to be thinking too much about yourself and your weakness and the challenges that you face that you are forgetting that the Spirit of God is in you!" Because we have the Spirit of God living in us we are able to serve in the power that He provides. We are able to love others because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. And we are able to have self-control (or a sound mind) to respond in wisdom when we face difficult circumstances and not listen to the creatures of our own imagination.
I think D. Martyn Lloyd Jones said it best in his book called Spiritual Depression when he wrote, "You must talk to yourself, remind yourself of what is true of you. Instead of allowing the future and thoughts of it to grip you, talk to yourself, remind yourself of who you are and what you are, and of what Spirit is in you; and, having reminded yourself of the character of the Spirit, you will be able to go steadily forward, fearing nothing, living in the present, ready for the future, with one desire only, to glorify Him who have His all for you."
May God remind us of that truth today and help us to "fan into flame the gift of God" that is in us by the power of the Holy Spirit.