What a week!
COVID-19 has likely changed your life. Between 24/7 news coverage, canceled sports tournaments, school and church closures, and empty shelves at stores, fear is rampant.
Even as leaders repeatedly say, “Do not be afraid” that is easier said than done.
Thankfully, God gives believers a resource to stand firm in the face of fear. God has given us the Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but (rather, a Spirit) of power and love and self-control.”
The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of power. In the context of 2 Timothy, this power enabled Paul to endure incredible suffering. Notice the next verse, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.”
Paul could write from his jail cell as execution awaited him that the power of God was at work in his weakness. The Spirit that rested on our suffering Savior indwells us and empowers us so that the sufficiency of His grace might be displayed to the world. The Spirit isn’t just at work for us to endure in suffering but to thrive in holiness in the midst of suffering. We have also been given the Spirit of love.
Love isn’t natural for us in uncertain times. But, Romans 5:5 assures that by the Holy Spirit God’s love has been poured into our hearts. Because of this, we can love God and love our neighbor. The Holy Spirit empowers us to wash our hands in wisdom, raise our hands in worship, and extend our hands in service.
We have not been given a Spirit of fear, but of power and love. In our day, these values are seen in opposition, yet the greatest act that the Spirit can perform is to empower us to live a life of love. I fully believe the Holy Spirit still does supernatural things in our day. Every single fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control are miraculous works in our hearts.
Finally, we have not been given a Spirit of fear but a Spirit of self-control. Titus 2:11-12 teaches us, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.” True spirituality is self-control.
Spirit-empowered self-control enables us to say, “No” to sinful arguments on social media but also say, “No” to excessive toilet paper purchases. But, self-control is not just the ability to say, “No” to the wrong things but also say, “Yes” to better things. Self-control is saying, “No” to wasting our time with family on Netflix in order to say, “Yes” to family dinners, family game nights, and family worship.
The best news in the world is that we have the Holy Spirit, the promise and seal of the New Covenant, and He is a Spirit of faith and not a Spirit of fear. Jesus died on the cross that COVID-19 might not overtake your faith. Jesus rose again that the power of His resurrection would dwell in you. Jesus came that we might not fear the curses of this world. He bore the curse of sin and death in His body and rose again from the dead to declare them powerless.
As we enter another week of a new life without sports, school, or many of our usual activities, believers don’t walk alone. We have been given God’s resource to walk in faith, the Holy Spirit.
My prayer for all of us is Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
Matt Shown has served in various churches and ministries in the Owensboro area for the last nine years. He has a Master’s of Divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.