For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NRSV
Driving in the car, I like to listen to contemporary gospel radio. I confess, I also sing along–usually mangling the words, tempo, and likely the key, but it gives me pleasure, and I never subject passengers to this torture. Although, I get the occasional glance from the driver of another car at the stop light.
What always amazes me is the effortlessness with which the musicians perform; they make it sound so easy. (Easy enough, I think I can do the same thing.) But, what seems easy is made possible because they have put in the time to master their art. They've spent endless hours of self-discipline to achieve that sound—something a novice can never do.
In this letter, Paul was preparing his beloved protege Timothy for the arduous spiritual journey he would face. Paul knew well the self-discipline required to be a thriving disciple of Christ. The road ahead would be difficult, even dangerous, but God had graced Timothy with gifts that guaranteed victory. He needn't fear failure because he was empowered and sent forth with God's love. There would be times of plenty and times of want (Philippians 4:12-13), but through self-discipline, he would grow in mastery, and those around would recognize him as a dedicated follower of Christ.
God, we thank you for the gifts of power, love, and self-discipline. Through them, we can approach the seemingly impossible with courage and confidence. Help us to attain mastery in being followers. Open our minds to understanding, our ears to listening, and our hearts to obedience. In Jesus Christ, our example and Lord, we pray. Amen.
Thank you all for being dedicated readers. My next post will be on Monday, February 13, when I return from vacation. Next week, I suggest you read the daily devotional offered by Our Daily Bread.