Thursday, October 25, 2012

How’s your discerning doing?

Ever feel overwhelmed… even a little fearful… with this task that God has entrusted to you… partnering with your husband, raising and overseeing the education of your children... and all this while serving on the mission field? 

Why? Especially KNOWING "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."

I think it's because practically, we act as though it all depends on us. We want to get it right. We want our kids to learn and do well. We want our husbands to succeed in ministry and value our contributions. We hope to see hearts and lives changed for eternity. And we try and carry that burden, one never meant for us, by ourselves.

Such lofty goals... Yet we forget about a caring Father accompanying, guiding, strengthening and even carrying us on this path. 

Why worry? Why fear? Why feel guilty or like failures when we do - worry, fear and fail?

Overwhelmed, exhausted, discouraged, distracted, forgetful, fearing what the next moment will bring...

We don't have to be.

For God hath not given us a spirit of fear, 
but a spirit of power, love and sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

This has long been one of my favorite verses. When I started studying Scripture in my French Bible, at church and preparing for Bible studies, I discovered another reason to cling to this verse.

Translated back to English, from the French ~

For this is not a spirit of timidity that God gave to us; 
on the contrary, 
His Spirit fills us with {His} power, {His} love and {His} wisdom.

I LOVE that slightly different nuance!

It isn’t just any spirit. We have been given the Holy Spirit to guide, to teach, to lead, to disciple, to encourage, to confront, to comfort… to fill us.

What are some of the things that His Spirit does?
  • But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13)
  • I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. (Ephesians 1:17)
  • I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33) 
  • And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
  • Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
  • For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" (Romans 8:15)
  • We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. (1 Corinthians 2:12)

Thus, we need to trust God and not fear as we approach the things He has called us to do and those things that seem so scary and hard. We need to trust God and not fear as we become who He has created us to be. We must seek His wisdom and guidance, make decisions by choosing a course of action based on what we believe He is telling us, and then trust the results - as well as further guidance and direction - to Him.

No, God has not given us a spirit of fear – that spirit comes from this world. It tells us we are not enough, points out our inadequacies, and twists truth into clever deceptions that are not quiet blatant lies… but lies nonetheless. No, the Spirit He has given us is His very own. His Spirit is available to fill us with power, love and wisdom, leaving no room for timidity.

I have heard another paraphrase of this verse...

God has not given us a spirit of fear, 
but of power, of love and 
of the discipline to use His wisdom in discerning 
the difference between those two.

So I ask you again, “How’s your discerning doing?”

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