January’s “Encouraging Word”
by Tony Cooper, Executive Director (for Birmingham Christian Family magazine)
STARTING A NEW YEAR
As we begin a new year, I thought of a Bible verse that will encourage and enable us to successfully deal with the obstacles and challenges that life can bring. II Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity (fear), but of power and love and discipline.” A similar passage in Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “. . . for He Himself has said, ‘I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,’ so that we confidently say, ‘The Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid, what shall man do to me?’”
The apostle Paul tells us that we are not to be afraid, timid, or bashful when it comes to living a Christian life. Fear is the enemy of faith and will hold us back as we live for Christ.
After telling us what to avoid, Paul then says what to pursue; power, love, and discipline. Power is the ability, empowering, and enabling to accomplish a desired result. As a Christ-follower our ability comes from the Holy Spirit of God. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . . .
Love follows power. This is agape love which comes from God. It is unselfish concern and unconditional positive regard for the welfare of another. Love is to be shared. We should first love God and then love others (Matthew 22:36-40).
The third characteristic is discipline. This means to exercise sound judgment and self-control. Discipline describes a person who is calm, well-balanced, and with life under control.
Hopefully this encouragement from God’s Word will help us to have a blessed 2019.