Power, Love and Self control

Seated at the feet of the Lord, as you reflect upon pursuing peace in your life, in the words of the apostle Peter, may grace take you from where you are to where God wants you to be in your life, for His word declares that, The one who loves life and desires to see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn from evil to do what is good; let him seek peace and pursue it. [1 Peter 3:10,11]

God wants you to experience peace that is wholeness in your being, your spirit, soul and body, for a lack in one aspect of your being could always trickle down to affect the other parts of it. A weakness in your soul, is invariably reflected in your body, and vice versa. But God wants you to prosper in all that you do, as you are planted and rooted in His word and in His house. It is a covenant of peace that He has made with you, one that requires you to put your faith in it, as He remains faithful to His covenant that is everlasting. The rudiments of the covenant come to you with clarity, in the words of the prophet Ezekiel to settle you and give you peace that removes all unrest from within you.

The covenant of peace :

Moreover I shall establish a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God and they will be My people. [Ezekiel 37:26,27] It is eternal and everlasting for you have an eternal God, who loves you with an everlasting and unchanging love. And this peace is also connected to prosperity, for it is one that sees a removal of all lack, that disturbs your inner well being, to bring wholeness.

It comes to you as you are planted by streams of living waters, as the psalmist has described. [Psalm 1:3] And, in the new covenant, one that the Lord has inaugurated and established through the one perfect sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary, it signifies the Holy Spirit that you and I receive in our salvation. And, the undisputable truth is that it is impossible to live a victorious Christian life, without the empowering of the Holy Spirit. It is needed in every aspect of your being, in your spirit, soul and body. For, when the work of the Holy Spirit is understood wrongly and is limited to external physical manifestations alone, it will find you missing out on many of the things that God has kept in store for you. The Lord Himself has described what the Helper, the Holy Spirit of God would do as you yield completely to be led and guided by Him.

The work of the Holy Spirit in you :

He will guide you into all truth, the Lord has said, to also add that, He will also glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. [John 16:14] And, how it all works out in you is that He gives you a revelation of the truth of God, to then also relate it to your circumstance very specifically, and also remind you of the truth, bring it to your remembrance at the appropriate time, when you need a word in season. He is your ever present Helper, who will never leave you or forsake you. Being sensitive to His still small voice is what is required of you, to progress and prosper in your life.

How does the Holy Spirit help you ?

The apostle Paul, in the understanding of the Spirit, was able to give Timothy wise counsel that would help him to arise and shine, to fulfill God’s call upon him, saying, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self control. [2 Timothy 1:7] And, why does he say so ? It is to stir up the gift of God in him, through the laying on of his hands, Paul has said in the previous verse, in order to do something that God had called him to do. For, even when it comes to your life, it is in whatever that you do, that you prosper. It is not in the planning, but in the building of a house that you encounter challenges, that hinder you from doing it.

In the life of Timothy, it was his timidity that stood in the way of doing what he was called to do by God. A shrinking back from what he was called upon to do, was what Timothy was in danger of succumbing to. It was a spirit of cowardice that needed to be dealt with spiritually, instead of hiding behind an excuse of having been born with an introvert nature. Every human being has a spirit, soul and body, and all the three are interconnected.

And Paul knew that it was a spirit of fear that Timothy needed to be delivered from; and the alternative antidote, the gifting of the Holy Spirit, was already in him. That was the truth that he needed to be reminded of. Even in your life today as a child of God, the same truth needs to be applied in the face of challenges that arise when it comes to doing what God has called you to do. The Holy Spirit is in you, and therefore, whatever you do through Him you will prosper. For, He who is in you is greater than anything that can come against you.

Describing the Holy Spirit :

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of power, love and self control, is the truth that the word of God sets forth, in order to combat and overcome the spirit of fear, which can try to take control in any person, to paralyze them from doing what God has called them to do. It is described with specific clarity, for fear can come in you when you are weak, when you are insecure, and when things are not in control in your life. And the Bible is the book of truth, honestly declaring that fear can come in a person, when he feels weak in any way, even if he occupies the position of a king, with an army under him.

a. Fear – in times of weakness :

And Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout Judah. [2 Chronicles 20:3]Being a king, involves responsibilities and its’ share of challenges that can arise at any time. It is what happened in the life of King Jehoshaphat, as enemies came against him. But he did the right thing, as he turned to the Lord, in faith. For, when you are afraid, and you are looking at Christ, you are looking in the right direction. It is a valuable principle that needs to be imbibed and applied, for the faces of those who look to Him will never be put to shame. And, in a time of great challenge, he prayed a purposeful prayer, not a prayer of panic.

Maybe in your life today, there are people who are pursuing you, seeking to harm and trouble you. But what you need to do is to look ahead at Christ, for He who is in you is greater. The enemy may be strong, but the Holy Spirit of God will do His work of grace in your heart to lead you and guide you in your troubling circumstance, to remove any fear that may have entered in, and make you strong.

b. In a time of urgency –> fear –> weakness :

It was the experience of another king. Hezekiah was surrounded by enemies, and found himself in a situation that demanded urgent action to be taken, but it led to fear in him that depleted his strength and made him weak. The comparison that he makes in his words to the prophet Isaiah paints a very eloquent picture of his condition, depicting very clearly the urgency of it. They said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah; this is a day of distress, of rebuke and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to deliver’. [2 Kings 19:3]

It was a time that needed urgent and immediate action, just as the birth of a baby cannot be postponed, but there was no strength to accomplish it. It can happen in your life and mine too, when surrounded by many problems that cause distress and despair. And, you may know that something has to be done, know what the action that has to be taken is, and yet, not have the strength to do it. But with the Holy Spirit in you, fear need not overwhelm you, even in such a situation, for God has not given you a spirit of fear.

You are never helpless or without hope, no matter how dire the situation is. For, with the Holy Spirit in you, you are like a tree planted by streams of living waters, and therefore, whatever you do shall prosper. And the classic example of fear induced weakness is what happened in the life of the prophet Elijah, when the threat that came through a single person drained all his energy and strength, to make him flee in fear, and pray that he may die.

c. Faced with an ungodly threat –> fear –> weakness :

Until then he had listened to the voice of God, to stand against nine hundred false prophets, but Jezebel’s vindictive message, made him pray a prayer, that God in His love, chose not to answer ! And Elijah was a man just like you and I, the Bible records. For, in times of desperation, and fear, sometimes you and I also end up praying silly prayers, saying words that we do not really mean. But, you have a loving Father who knows what you need in life, and has the best plans for you. To Elijah, God’s blessing was to energize and fill him with power, showing him that he had a long way to go, for there were things he needed to do that would prosper, the anointing of kings and also of Elisha.

1. Holy Spirit – the Spirit of power :

And, even in your life, God has a powerful answer for weakness that comes through fear. It is the Spirit of God who is power. You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, was the promise of the Lord, before His glorious ascension. It is the ability that is in you when you are a child of God. The Holy Spirit indwells you, and you do not have to wait to experience a physical feeling of it, in order to know that you are anointed. It is in the knowledge of the truth that you act, trusting and relying on the Spirit, and God’s word to see all that you do prosper even as God sustains you, keeping you strong. Stephen, the apostle was a young man, filled with the Spirit of God.

And how did the presence of the Holy Spirit manifest in him ? When he stood before the Sanhedrin, to be questioned, it was the Spirit of God who gave him the intelligence and wisdom, as he spoke to them with courage, and an absence of weakness and fear. [Acts 6:10] The early church faced persecution, even as the church does today, and will continue to do so, for proclaiming their faith in Lord Jesus. But the disciples gathered together to pray, not for the removal of persecution, but for boldness, so that they would not shrink back in fear, when it came to proclaiming the gospel. And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. [Acts 4:31]

There will be times in your life when the challenges that arise cannot be bypassed. You need to go through them trusting in the Breaker who goes ahead, the One who removes hindrances. And, it is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of power, who gives you the strength to do it, without giving room to fear that leads to weakness in you. Your calling and gifting has come to you from God. And as the old Sunday school chorus goes, what the world has not given to you, the world cannot take away.

The gifting and calling of God are irrevocable. All it requires from you is to walk in it, doing what you need to do, something that only you can do. And in the Spirit’s power you can do it to experience prosperity that is wholeness and peace in your life. Fear can rear its’ ugly head, when you are weak spiritually, mentally or physically. But in knowing and walking in the truth that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of power is in you, you can overcome it victoriously, to prosper in what you do, and accomplish the purposes of God.

2. Holy Spirit – the Spirit of love :

Insecurity in any area of your life, can open the door for the spirit of fear to cause havoc and keep you from doing what you are called to do in your life to prosper and fulfill your divine calling. But, greater is He who is in you, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of love that conquers very fear that stems from a feeling of insecurity. Now hope does not disappoint us, for the love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. [Romans 5:5]

And the word of God further on declares, Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us, For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:37-39] Paul’s blessed assurance is yours too, as a child of God. Nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in you through the Holy Spirit. And, knowing and finding your rest in this powerful truth is vital, when it comes to facing challenges in your life, which can otherwise make you fearful.

As you may have observed, people tend to be afraid and restless, with no peace in them when their job is temporary and insecure. They can wake up disturbed and afraid each day wondering whether they would have a job waiting for them, when they go to work. But, the truth of the matter is that anything that can be taken away from you, can never be your security in life. It could be your employment, your finances, your house, your relationships, titles and position that you enjoy that can suddenly see an ‘ex’ becoming their prefix, and the list goes on.

It is why the Lord praised Mary for choosing what was better, what cannot be taken away from her, as she sat at His feet to listen to His word. Even today it is the word of God, the promises that come to you from Him, that are your true security in life. They ought to remove any doubt and fear that can arise in you, as you look at your situation. But, it is not always so easy, human as you are. It is illustrated in the words of the Lord Almighty as He lovingly rebukes His people for doubting His care of them, saying, ‘Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over ?”. [Isaiah 40:27]

The psalmist too, expresses the doubts and fears that can come in a person, because of negative circumstances, that can try and override the knowledge of God’s love in him. The seventy seventh psalm to begin with, records an outburst of questions from him, that are poured out at the feet of the Lord, saying,

Will the Lord cast off forever ?

And will He be favorable no more ?

Has His mercy ceased forever ?

Has His promise failed forevermore ?

Has God forgotten to be gracious ?

Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies ? [Psalm 77:7-9]

But after these questions of anguish, he progresses to hope, to remember the greatness of God, and the mighty wonders that He had worked out in the past, on behalf of His people, to show Himself strong and to redeem them from the hand of the enemy. [Psalm 77:10-15] It lays down the principle that you and I need to apply too, when circumstances threaten to overwhelm you, and to doubt the all consuming love that God has for you. For, He has said that He will never leave you nor forsake you, that His grace and mercy is upon you for a thousand generations, and that all His promises are ‘yes’ and ‘amen’ in Christ Jesus.

Abraham’s imputed righteousness and blessing is yours too today, as you put your trust in the God who raised our Lord Jesus from the dead. God remembering Sarah, in no way implies that He had forgotten her, but only serves to show that at the right time He intervened in her life, to bless her with the son of promise. Human beings may disappoint you, and fail to keep their word to you. But ‘Am I a man that I should lie ? Will I say and not do ?’ says the Lord Almighty in His word. Nothing compares to the promise you have in Him. ‘How can I give you up, O, Ephraim, I am God, not a man’, is the proclamation of His faithful love and compassion upon you. [Hosea 11:8,9] Therefore, when doubts arise in you to make you insecure and fearful, all you need to do is to start talking to God in prayer, for His love that removes any insecurity in you, has been poured into your heart through the Holy spirit.

What does the Spirit do in your weakness ?

When in your weakness and fear, you do not know what to pray, or have the strength to pray, the Holy Spirit starts doing His work of grace in you, as Paul describes, Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [Romans 8:26] It is what the Holy Spirit does in you, and the word of God in the same passage adds to say, Who is he who condemns ? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, and also makes intercession for us. [Romans 8:34]

Thus, with the Holy Spirit and the risen Lord interceding on your behalf, how can you not prosper in what you do ?! Therefore, when in your insecurity, fear tries to gain control, it is by praying in the Spirit, that His love is poured in your heart, to build you up and remove fear. [Jude 20,21] The counsel of Jude connects to the truth of God, in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, which declares that when you speak in an unknown tongue, you speak mysteries unto God. [1 Corinthians 14:2] They are mysteries that guard you in the love of God, and build you up in your faith.

Therefore, you do not have to cringe and shrink from challenges that you face, for the Holy Spirit is always a step ahead. Nothing misses the eye of God. And when you pray as the Spirit leads you, you will find that you are well prepared for the circumstances of life, in order to do what you need to do and also to prosper, or be victorious. It was the truth that Paul himself experienced and proclaimed on a perilous and stormy voyage in the sea, when everything seemed out of control !

3. Holy Spirit – the Spirit of self-control :

‘For there stood by me this night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar, and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you’. [Acts 27:23,24] When things are out of control in your life, fear can creep in. It is what is implied in the words of Paul on the ship, as he narrates the words of the angel of God to his fellow travelers. He was the man who wrote almost half of the New Testament; he had been taken up to the third heaven. But, on the boat Paul had experienced fear, and also the comfort of God !

They had lost all hope, and the circumstance was dire, for the storm was still raging. But in the midst of it, Paul stood up to say, ‘Do not fear, for the Lord has shown favor to me and to all of you’. And he took bread and broke it, and all on the boat partook of it, eating food after many days. It symbolized not that one particular meal, but pointed all the way back to Calvary, where on the night that He was betrayed, the Lord broke the bread, and gave it to his disciples saying, ‘Take eat; this is My Body, broken for you’. It was broken, so that you can be made whole. It is the magnificent and majestic truth of the old rugged Cross.

The God of all control :

Your life may seem irretrievably broken right now. But do not fear. For, in your brokenness God is going to bring about a beautiful wholeness. Therefore, when everything lies broken around you, and everything seems out of control in your life, like Paul, be the person who stands on the deck to declare what the Lord has accomplished on the Cross of Calvary, crying victoriously, ‘It is finished’! Everyone wants to be in control. In life though, there is more beyond your control, than what you can control. But, there is nothing beyond the control of God ! He is the God of all control. There may be a storm outside, but you have the Holy Spirit inside you. Therefore,be encouraged ! In the middle of the storm, Paul stood up to break bread and proclaim their deliverance and safety, all because of what Christ has already done on the Cross.

Self control – the fruit of the Spirit :

An apple tree does not have to struggle to bear an apple fruit; it is what comes naturally to it. And, self control is the fruit of the Spirit that is expressed in and through you, as you stay yielded to the working of the Holy Spirit in you. It is He who leads you, guides you and empowers you. Therefore, what is supernatural will become natural to you, when self control is in you, as the fruit of the Spirit.

And even in the storm, you can arise to stand on the deck, to give thanks unto the Father, for everything is in control, His control. You have been given a Spirit of power, love and self control, and not a spirit of fear. Let all unhealthy fear be gone from within you. There is no more room for fear in you. But, there is plenty of room for the power, love and sound mind, which is from God. Therefore, Let the weak say I am strong, and let the poor say I am rich, can be your anthem of faith. It is because of what God has done, for giving you His Son, and through Him, the Holy Spirit, to fill you with His power, love and sound mind. And, let all that you do in your life prosper, for the One who causes it to prosper is abiding in you.

In the Name of Christ Jesus Amen .

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