“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
We conclude our miniseries of devotions called “Christmas Warfare”. I sure hope you had a good Christmas. There were so many negative and uncertain vibes that surrounded this season. The fear mongrels were in full form. This series that I have written and preached from the pulpit at Pawnee Assembly has been instrumental in keeping the focus on the mission and not the chaos. What are we as the Church to do in these times where joy could be hard to find and experience? I believe Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 gives us the answer. (Take some time to read these verses and the previous three devotions.) In this series we are breaking down five things Paul instructs the Church to do especially in times of trials. A quick review... Wake Up, Stand Up, Grow Up, Power Up and Love! Today we look at God’s power and love in operation in our lives.
One of the things that surrounds us in this culture of COVID is fear. Fear is peddled daily from mainstream media and maybe even a few relatives. I was thinking over the holiday that Jesus was never a stranger to the environment of danger and fear. Notice I said environment. Jesus seemed to always be in the midst of chaos from the time He was born. Just check out the Christmas story and you find confusion, doubt, fear, threats and even murder. His earthly father, Joseph almost backed out of the parenting plan completely due to possible humiliation for Mary carrying a child before marriage. Think about it... who would believe that she was still a virgin. The atmosphere was intoxicated with spicey drama. As Jesus grew and His mission came into focus, the opportunities for fear grew even larger. Demons, false accusations, storms and temptations. There are many who go to therapy for less. Jesus was in the middle of fearful situations, but instead of carrying fear, Jesus walked in powerful authority and compassionate love.
Think about the woman in the gospel of John who was thrown at the feet of Jesus after being caught in adultery. The crowd of accusers screaming at the top of their lungs for Jesus to do the right thing. It was a trap to test anyone’s anti- perspirant. Many would collapse under the pressure. Not Jesus. Instead of fear, He bent down and wrote something in the dirt with His finger. Then confidently rose to utter wisdom that dropped the mic. Love for the woman and her accusers dispelled the darkness and the accusers left one by one. How about the demonic man running at Jesus and His disciples only to be met with confidence and love? The pigs did not fare well in the story, but the man controlled by demons was never the in same again. He met love, not fear and it changed His life.
When people meet you, what do they experience? Power and love or fear and confusion? When chaos and fear confront you, how do you respond? If you respond in fear, you need to know something. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. That is not coming from Him. Instead, through Jesus Christ, God gives us power, love and sound mind. You can choose to make the exchange if you feel fear is more of your immediate response to today’s culture. We have confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit, love through the One who is love and peace that brings wisdom and discernment that changes the environment around us. Remember, we are the Church, the ekklesia, called out ones who once lived in darkness, but now live in the light. We walk with Kingdom authority and through prayer have the peace of God that rules our hearts. As you walk into 2021, do so with God’s power and love.