The Holy Spirit, Gifts, and Freedom
(I realize this quote starts out kind of arrogant, but stay with me.)
We lack for Christians who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the attractiveness of this world. Such Christians will be free from the compulsions that control and squeeze weaker thinking Christians.
This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the regular irregulars who shuttle in and out of the sanctuary.
Free Christians will:
- make no decisions out of fear,
- take no course out of a desire to please,
- accept no service for financial considerations,
- perform no religious act of mere custom;
- nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.
This is from a study I’m doing right now. Pretty strong words. While I was reading this I realized that I never expected to come home from any mission trip I ever went on. Every time I flew into my hometown airport or pulled into the church parking lot where I left my car, I was surprised at God. I was surprised almost to the point to paralysis because I realized that God had more to do with me.
So the question now is how does that mentality/lifestyle work in a neighborhood? In a place where you come home and walk in a door every day (if not several times in a single day?!)
There are two big deals I’ve gotten out of this study.
- All gifts are from God but watered and nurtured by people.
2 Timothy 1:6 Because of this I remind you to rekindle God’s gift…
Timothy had a gift that Paul was encouraging him to rev up again. Don’t get beat down from discouragement or whatever, turn it up Timothy!
- That power, love, and self-control verse isn’t about not being afraid, it’s about spiritual gifts!
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Timothy was being cheered on by Paul to get out there and do the things that Timothy knew he was meant to do. He knew the call of God on his life and the gifts that God gave him to do those things. Now, Timothy, Paul says, go do those things in love and self-control (or a sound mind, not an out of control crazy person).
So what happens if we are fully unleashed? What happens when we love our neighbors and talk sincerely to each other and become a safe haven for the people around us?
What if we focused more on what we are doing right now (I’m going to show you the love of God as it was shown to me in Jesus) instead of focusing so much on a result (I’m going to make you a convert whether you like it or not!)?
What would happen if we did what God called and equipped us to do, wherever we are, without fear of death or shame or embarrasment?
What if we did it in love, not obnoxiousness?
What if we walked in humility, not arrogance?
I think we’d find ourselves really free and the people around us would become free too!