Tag Archives: holy spirit

The Power of a Sound Mind

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“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

The gift spoken of in the previous verse is based on a transfer of authority from God, and we are exhorted to “stir up” that gift (2 Timothy 1:6) because God did not give us a “spirit of fear.” The word fear (deilia) stresses timidity or cowardice, not terror. The gift does not function well if we are too timid to use it.

The gift referred to is not power. That spiritual gift comes with dunamis—the innate ability to do the gift. Whatever the Holy Spirit has gifted us with upon our entrance into the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:11), that gift comes with the power necessary to implement and use that gift.

The gift also comes with love. Again, love is not the gift. It is only part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that comes with the gift. Were it not for the reflection in us of the unilateral and sacrificial love of our Redeemer, these supernatural gifts could well be misused, distorted, and abused for personal glory. Diotrephes misused his gift, failing to use the spirit of love (3 John 1:9).

Sophronismos (sound mind) is a unique Greek word that is a combination of the verbs “to save” and “to control.” Its basic meaning would be “safe control” or “wholesome control”— perhaps even “control that saves”—the perfect combination of abilities that empower the gift, the love that keeps the gift focused on others, and the “safety controls” to keep it from doing damage unwittingly.

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). HMM III

Our Power Source

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“And . . . the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe.” (Ephesians 1:19)

The power of the triune Creator, as displayed in the resurrection of Christ, is directed toward us! We can be certain we will never fully comprehend that, but the Scriptures provide several clear statements that will help us gain a small grasp on this magnificent resource.

• We receive power when the Holy Spirit indwells us (Acts 1:8). The Holy Spirit takes up residence in everyone who is twice-born (John 14:17) and is therefore readily accessible to all believers (Ephesians 3:20).
• We use the power of God every time we preach the gospel (Romans 1:16), whether to one person or to thousands (1 Corinthians 1:18).
• We learn of the power of God through “great and precious promises.” Indeed, those promises involve “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3-4).
• We see the results of the power of God in our lives when we are “strengthened with all might” so that we demonstrate “all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness” (Colossians 1:11).

The Lord desires “that [we] might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) and “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man” (v. 16). The purpose of this empowering is to be “rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith” (Colossians 2:7), “able to comprehend . . . the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18-19). HMM III

Be Continually Filled With the Spirit

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“For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.” (Luke 1:15)

This prophecy of the angel Gabriel, bearing as it does a tremendous testimony to the character of John the Baptist, contains the first reference in the New Testament to the unique Christian doctrine of the filling of the Holy Spirit. John was the first Christian witness, directing his own disciples to Christ (John 1:35-37) and clearly preaching the gospel of salvation through Christ alone (John 3:26-36). It is significant that he was filled with the Holy Spirit all his life. Jesus is also said to have been full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1) and was undoubtedly so filled from the time of conception (Psalm 22:10), but the explicit statement is made only of John.

The fullness of the Spirit is available for every believer, of course. In the New Testament, both of John’s parents were said to be so filled on a specific occasion (Luke 1:41, 67). The disciples of the Lord were filled with the Spirit many times (Acts 2:4; 4:31; 13:52). Peter was said to be filled with the Holy Spirit on at least one special occasion (Acts 4:8), and Paul at least twice (Acts 9:17; 13:9).

One of the qualifications sought in the first deacons was that they were to be men full of the Holy Ghost (Acts 6:3), and one of those chosen, Stephen, was specifically so described (Acts 6:5; 7:55). Barnabas was another Spirit-filled Christian believer (Acts 11:24). Undoubtedly there were many others. In fact, every believer is commanded to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). The reference in this key passage is not to a one-time event, but to frequent fillings. “Be continually being filled” is the literal rendering. HMM

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