2 Timothy 1:7
After Paul was released from prison in Rome, he discovered that leaders in the Ephesian church had distorted the genuine message they first heard from Paul himself. They had misapplied certain Jewish practices and borrowed some others from the philosophies of the day. So, Paul sent his co-worker, Timothy to Ephesus and wrote him a letter. He hoped it would give Timothy the power and influence to set things in order until Paul could get to Ephesus himself.
Paul had trained Timothy and laid hands on him for this special assignment (2 Timothy 1:6). However, Timothy was quite young compared to the people he would be leading. For this reason, Timothy was a little shy and fearful. He must have been wondering if he really had what it took to lead a church. The Ephesian church was surely a difficult one to deal with because of the misleading doctrines they had believed already.
Paul sensed Timothy had mixed feelings, that’s why he wrote 2 Timothy 1:7. He told Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. He reminded Timothy that he had everything he needed for the task ahead of him. He only needed to stir it up through power, love and a sound mind.
Like Timothy, many of us have great tasks ahead of us. We may sometimes feel like we are not qualified for what God has called us to do. We often forget that whoever God calls is qualified already. When the King of the universe sends you on an assignment, you are more than qualified for that assignment. Your qualification is not in your skills, eloquence or riches, your qualification lies in the person who sent you to fulfil the assignment- God. God sometimes ignores the qualified to qualify the called (1 Corinthians 1:26-30).
God has given us everything we need to accomplish the mandate he has given to us. We only need the spirit of power, love and a sound mind to help us activate our God-given potential. Living in fear will prevent us from becoming all that God has assigned us to become. Fear is the greatest enemy of destiny. We need to be bold and courageous if we will be used by God (Joshua 1:8).
The spirit of God is the embodiment of all that God is and he quickens us to fulfil our God-given destinies. The spirit of power, love and a sound mind that Paul was referring to in 2 Timothy 1:7 is the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit gives us the strength, boldness and courage we need to do all that God has called us to do. He energises the shy and timid people to become fearless and dauntless. When we receive Jesus as Lord and saviour, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us (Ephesians 1:13). He brings the fullness of God to live in us. It is from him that we get power, love and a sound mind to become all that God has created us to be.
When the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles on the day of Pentecost, he came upon them with boldness, power and courage. After the Pentecost experience, three thousand souls were added to the church by the message of Peter. Peter who once denied Jesus was bold enough to proclaim before thousands of people that Jesus is Lord (Acts 2:14).
As we fellowship more with the Holy Spirit, he fills us with the power and strength we need to perform the tasks God has assigned us to do. Without the Holy Spirit, we will struggle to take on the huge tasks God hands to us. How do power, love and a sound mind help us fulfil destiny?
We receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon us (Acts 1:8). Jesus was only able to bring his calling to reality by the power of God (Acts 10:38). Jesus knew that power is so crucial for destiny and this was why he asked the Apostles to wait to receive God’s power through the Holy Spirit before attempting to do anything in his name (Luke 24:49). After the Apostles received power, the gospel of Christ spread unstoppably and many were turned to God.
We must wait on God for power through the Holy Spirit to fulfil our God-given goals and dreams. Many things are unachievable except by the power of God.
The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). He makes the love of God real and tangible to us. Without love, we can’t be a blessing to people. Jesus was able to reach even the lowly placed people in his time because he showed them love.
If we don’t show people love, their hearts will remain closed toward us. Power has a way of consuming its bearer and making us proud. The Holy Spirit cuts off this tendency by filling us with his love. He helps us realise that he has anointed us with his power so that we can help people and not because we are better than them. Love helps us to channel the power of God to the right cause which is to love people and help them.
A Sound Mind
A sound mind is a mind that is devoid of unbelief and doubts in all situations. A sound mind is bold and not easily influenced by negative opinions and criticisms. A sound mind is not ignorant of God’s word. Another word for a sound mind in 2 Timothy 1:7 is self-control or self-discipline. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
Without self-discipline, we will not be able to live the kind of life God wants us to. Jesus lived a very disciplined life on earth. He didn’t allow people to influence him into doing what God didn’t want him to do. In addition to power and love, we need self-control to remain focused on the goal that God has called us to achieve.
Whatever you need to achieve is possible by the Holy Spirit. He will give you power, love and a sound mind that will help you achieve those impossible dreams. Don’t be shy, afraid and weakly, be bold, loving and of a sound mind!
King James Version (KJV)
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
New International Version (NIV)
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
“for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”
New American Bible (NASB)
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
English Standard Version (ESV)
“for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
The Living Bible (TLB)
“For the Holy Spirit, God’s gift, does not want you to be afraid of people, but to be wise and strong, and to love them and enjoy being with them.”
Power, Love, and a Sound Mind
It’s important to know that the type of fear that is referenced in this scripture is not the same fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom. The fear in this verse comes from the Greek word “ekphobos” which means “greatly terrified”. This type of fear does not come from God.
He gives us a spirit of POWER, LOVE, and a SOUND MIND.
While some versions say “self-control” or “self-discipline”, one would be to have a “sound mind” to have the other two. “Sound mind” comes from a combination of the greek words sodzo and phroneo. It means “a mind that has been delivered or rescued.” So powerful. And so re-assuring that God has given us what we need to survive and thrive in the Kingdom, while here on this earth.