Our focus this week has been on 2 Timothy 1:7: "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline." (Click here for the whole chapter to see the verse in context.)
Last week, after the blessing of the service at Sagebrook, I had the words grace and forgiveness bouncing around in my head all week. "Grace" is such a sweet word; in fact, my favorite word in our language. There is something so powerful, so divinely other, so hope-generating about the idea of someone in authority pouring out favor on a wretched, dispicable character that does not deserve it in any way. It is such grace that has the ability to change people dramatically. It is such grace that transformed my life!
This week, I encounter new words like "timid" and "ashamed," and I can't help but cringe a little. While I love receiving grace and forgiveness, I loathe being still trapped in timidity and shame. I hate it because it is a reminder that I am not in step with the Spirit in all areas. "For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power...".
Whenever down on myself with these kinds of realizations, I often make the mistake of making this a matter of will power. If only I would try harder! If only I would do this one thing a little less, and this other thing a little more. If only I would think through how to fix me the right way once and for all. But the truth corrects me and frees me from this cycle of guilt and depravity. I am reminded by ancient words and good news (the gospel) that this "grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time" (2 Timothy 1:9).
This passage of Scripture goes on: 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.
It always comes back to me finding out that there is more of me that needs to die away; more of Him that needs to express life in and through me. Then, I can...then I will...be a testimony of His power and grace. Then I will live the holy life to which He has called me! Then I will be the herald, the apostle, and the teacher that I have been appointed to be. May that day be today!
I am eager to see what God has revealed to the others in my simple church through this same inspired text.