The Holy Spirit is our advocate, our comforter, our encourager, our counselor, and our helper. The Holy Spirit never leaves us nor can we do anything to scare Him off. The Holy Spirit prays for us when we do not know what to pray. He is our advocate, pleading our case before God. With all of the challenges believers face here on this earth, who would not want the help of the Holy Spirit?
A Common Misunderstanding
The benefits are pretty clear and are overwhelmingly in our favor, yet many believers resist embracing the Holy Spirit. Of all the possible reasons I could think of, I believe most believers simply do not hold a clear understanding of the Holy Spirit. When considering the three parts of the Trinity, I believe the Holy Spirit is the most misunderstood. Somehow we understand the concept of God and the Bible paints clear pictures of the life of Jesus, but the Holy Spirit is a bit of a mystery.
I believe that far too many believers know the Holy Spirit exists, yet fail to embrace the life-changing relationship and power which lives within them. I have come to this conclusion based on years growing up in the Church and my own struggle to understand the Holy Spirit. After years of battling fear and anxiety without directly seeking the help of the Holy Spirit, I began to pursue Him. This pursuit came out of my quiet time, prayer, and Biblical research for writing.
I now understand that this seeking was less about my own efforts and more about the Holy Spirit pursuing me. For years, I tried to battle fear and anxiety without the help of the Holy Spirit. I often called on God and Jesus, but really had no clue where to start when it comes to pursuing the Holy Spirit. What is most fascinating to me is that my interaction with the Spirit was only held back from my limited perspective.
Understand Who He Is
As believers, it may very well take some time to even understand who the Holy Spirit is much less learn how to walk in the Spirit. Much like a newborn child, believers must start by crawling before they can walk. This means getting to know the Holy Spirit by spending time in God’s Word and in prayer. I personally did not know where to start. I discovered many YouVersion reading plans which have greatly helped in my understanding of the Holy Spirit.
Just as babies do not automatically start walking on day one, believers should not expect to walk in the Spirit on day one. For new believers, the starting point would be discovering who the Holy Spirit is and why He is central to their faith.
Get To Know Him
Once a believer understand who the Holy Spirit is, the next step is to pursue Him.
Recognize The Significance
As we begin to look at the second part of 2 Timothy 1:7 NLT, it is very tempting to try and shy away from embracing this God-given spirit. It is important that we do not discount what is going on here in this process. The verse is calling us away from our flesh, away from the fear which has held us captive up until this point. This process is surrendering the false sense of control which we believe that we held prior to this realization. In many respects, there might be some grieving which occurs as we give up what we have known and start to embrace the Holy Spirit.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
It might very well be a struggle to wrap our minds and hearts around what it means to live out 2 Timothy 1:7. As we examine 2 Timothy 1:7, there are several different ways one might approach what is being said in this passage of scripture. One could purely look at the traits of power, love, and self-control. Another possible approach is that this spirit addressed in verse 7 is the Holy Spirit which God has blessed believers with when we chose to follow Jesus. I believe we need to consider both the traits mentioned and the Holy Spirit which makes his home in the hearts of believers.
Embracing Our New Spirit
Looking at these traits alone can be intimidating enough. Power, love, and self-control. As I began to try and embrace my God-given spirit, I soon realized this was not about me somehow managing to embody these traits on my own. This new spirit is the Holy Spirit. The power, love, and self-control would come as a result of my relationship with the Holy Spirit.
The only part that was up to me was my willingness to seek out and respond to a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
As we begin down the path of embracing this Spirit, let us be especially mindful of the role of the Holy Spirit. None of this is about self-help. Quite the opposite. Adopting these qualities is not something we do in our own strength nor is it something we do without the guidance of the Holy Spirit. This is a journey we take together, hand-in-hand with the Holy Spirit.
A Spirit of Power
Adopting a spirit of power is a lot less tangible concept in my mind than one of love or of self-discipline. This particular part of our God-given spirit took me longer to make sense of. What I found helpful was looking at A Spirit of Power as tapping into the strength of the Holy Spirit.
Let us start by asking ourselves, “What could it mean to embrace or adopt a spirit of power?” If we start to think of this verse through the lens of our fear, I believe there is real potential to hesitate here. The cynical side of me starts to resist, thinking about how cheesy this sounds when read aloud. Stick with me here in this process as your mind wants to rebel against what God has for you.
Let’s take a step back and look at the very word power. As I stated earlier, we all have our ideas of what power means to us, let us look at the New Oxford American Dictionary for some commonality. As you read this, think about how a spirit of power applies to your fear. Pick out words that stand out or strike you as interesting. Write them down on your phone or a piece of paper.
The ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality.
The capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events.
Physical Strength and force exerted by something or someone.
Energy that is produced by mechanical, electrical, or other means and used to operate a device.
Physics the time-rate of doing work, measured in watts or less frequently horsepower.
Mathematics the number of times a certain number is to be multiplied by itself.
Source: New Oxford American Dictionary
As believers, new or veteran, it is particularly challenging for us to wrap our minds around a new, Kingdom mindset. It is easy for us to compartmentalize our faith. We can easily believe in what God did for us by sending Jesus to die as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. It is difficult for us to make the change from living in our own power and step into living under God’s power.
We rarely view our lives in terms of God’s power.
Our Own Ability
As we look at part 1 of this definition, I cannot help but be reminded of the feeling that I do not have what it takes to fight my overwhelming sense fear. As we explored earlier in the series, I did not grow up spending a lot of time entrenched in serious fear. My time with fear was with what I refer to as trivial phobias or average everyday fears. The common childhood fears such as being forced to eat my vegetables, not being accepted by others, big hairy spiders, not measuring up, or falling off my bike. I did not grow up entrenched in fear, so I had not honed my ability to deal with fear.
Learn to Reach Out
So as I look at my own ability to act in a certain way, I cannot help but feel inadequate. If you identify with this thought, take courage. As we face fear in our day we are NOT facing it in our own ability. You do not need to go buy a book on Facing Fear for Dummies. You do not need to search for 10 hacks for facing your fears. The only preparation you need is the willingness to recognize your weakness and reach out to the Holy Spirit when you are experiencing fear.
Holy Spirit I recognize I do not have the ability to face my fear on my own. Please come and fill me with your peace. Not my peace, I want your peace. Shalom, Shalom. Help me to see that I have options in dealing with my fear. Help me to realize I am not meant to operate in my own human ability. -Amen
Not Under Our Influence
As we reflect on the second part of the definition, I want to tweak this definition a bit to include our own behavior.
“The capacity or ability to direct or influence our own behavior, the behavior of others or the course of events.”
It might feel rather defeating to think about our ability to influence our behavior. In the definition above, I added in “our own behavior” to this common definition. I believe that power includes the ability to not only influence the behavior of others, but the ability to influence our own behavior as humans. Fear often makes us feel helpless to do anything but yield to it. If you have ever felt this way, I have good news!
When we choose to embrace the Holy Spirit, we are setting new expectations. Take your old, preconceived ideas about what you are supposed to do or ways you are supposed to act in relation to your fear and throw them out. They no longer apply. We are operating under a new set of expectations.
I am NOT saying it will be easy. It will take time to adopt this new perspective. When you feel less than capable of influencing your own response to your fear, STOP! Take a minute to ask the Holy Spirit for help.
Holy Spirit we thank you that you are always there for us. Please come and sit with us. Help us to see that through your power, we can influence our behavior. Give us eyes to see what we can do in your power to positively influence our situation. -Amen.
Not By Human Standards
As we have explored this definition of power, you probably have noticed a trend here. Adopting a spirit of power has very little to do with our own human power or some special acquired skill set. It is everything to do with Godly perspective and our willingness to invite the Holy Spirit into our day-to-day, moment-by-moment fear. There will be a lot of acknowledging where we fall short and where we need the Holy Spirit. This is how God intended. It is tough to adopt this new way of doing things, since you have probably been trying to face your fear on your own up until this point. The good news is that we are not limited by human standards or expectations for tackling our fear.
It is time to stop doing things on your own and embrace our need for the Holy Spirit. This will be your toughest challenge. Your brain might try to suggest that “you got this” or “God doesn’t care about this small stuff” or “you don’t need God.” You might feel like this is just some new age, feel good, churchy philosophy to sell more books.
Trust me in that I have tried other things and this is what worked. Even though I would love to make a living off of my writing one day, I have yet to sign a book deal which makes this a reality. I am writing this to share my experience with others who might be going through something similar. I will be thrilled if God decides to bless what I have done and this ends up making money, but the greater blessing is providing hope to one person struggling with fear.
If you want to find freedom from your fear, it is time to drop the self-made myth. Embrace our need for the Holy Spirit and invite him into your fear.
A Spirit of Love
Since the Bible tells us that God is love, it is only fitting that a key part of the spirit God has given his children includes love infused as the core ingredient. Everything we do as God’s ambassadors should be motivated by the love of God. When it comes to fear and fearfulness
A Spirit of Self-control
Our Own Ability (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV)
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Not Under Our Influence (Proverbs 19:21 NIV)
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
Not in Our Power (Ephesians 1:19-22)
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.”
“It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 NLT
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”
John 14:15-17 NLT
“I am telling you these things now while I am still with you. But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”
John 14:25-26 NLT
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’”
John 16:12-15 NLT