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September 19

2 Timothy 1:7

7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. — 2 Timothy 1:7

Power + Love + Sound Judgment

by Shea Clanton
Woodbine Campus

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Have no fear.” A quick Google search of that phrase brings up numerous websites including “74 Helpful Quotes on Fear to Help You Overcome It” and “How to Have No Fear: 15 Steps (with pictures).” I have good news, friend. We don’t need 74 quotes or 15 steps—we have the truth of God’s Word wherein He tells us that He hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. He’s given us something better in its place: a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment.

What exactly does it mean to have a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment? We’re told in Acts 1:8 that we “will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on” us. John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” But what about “sound judgment”? The Greek word sóphronismos, translated here as “sound judgment,” could also be translated “self discipline,” “wise discretion,” or “sound mind.” These possible translations lead me to understand that God has given us the ability to think for ourselves—carefully and wisely—and to know how to act on those thoughts.

I find it interesting that in the very next verse (2 Timothy 1:8), Paul writes to Timothy, “So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner.” To me, the word “so” at the beginning of the verse implies that is it because of the spirit of power, love, and sound judgment within him that Timothy shouldn’t be ashamed of the testimony about his Lord. I would argue that the same applies to us. Because God has given us a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment, we are emboldened to not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.

Let’s go back to “sound judgment.” Imagine a person has all the power and love in the world, but he also has a clouded and distracted mind and isn’t thinking very clearly. Is that person going to be able to trust the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of Christ in His life? Is he going to be able to overcome the fear placed on him by the world? Is he going to be able to willingly and unashamedly share the testimony of his Lord? My belief is that keeping our minds focused solely on Christ and free of worldly distractions is key to living as Christ intends.

Praxis

  1. Is there anything specific in your life that causes you to have a distracted mind and lack sound judgment? Maybe a television show, social media, a hobby, or something else? Challenge yourself to take a break from that distraction so that you can more fully experience the power and love of Christ in your life.
  2. Write a one-line prayer to pray when you catch your mind losing focus on Christ. You could even pray Scripture such as Colossians 3:2: “Lord, right now, I set my mind on things above, not on earthly things.”
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