A few years ago my Mom gave me a framed print out of one of my favorite Bible verses.
“For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7*
One day I decided to take the verse out of the frame and tape it to my ceiling right above my bed. My intention was to wake up every morning to that verse being the first thing I saw.
However, that was rarely the case. Most of the time I would wake up then immediately hit snooze….then I would hit it again…and again. The other day I was so tired I kid you not I hit snooze every seven minutes for over and hour…yikes. On certain days I would wake up to the verse and read it quickly with no reflection.
After reflecting on this verse the last few days I realized my error. I had forgotten the power and the truth that floods this verse.
Have you ever been called a coward?
To me it is one of the worst things a person can call me. Why is that?
To me a coward is someone that allows their fears to overpower their faith.
To me a coward is someone that gives up easily in any task.
To me a coward is someone who is lukewarm.
Christ tells us specifically that being lukewarm in faith is the absolute worst. Ironically, I have noticed that the problem with being lukewarm is that you don’t really notice it.
What do I mean by this?
Well, when you are sitting in a hot tub you notice the heat. You feel great. It is similar to the zeal you receive from the Holy Spirit. You just know that everything is right with the world. When you take an ice bath you know what you are doing. You feel the cold.
However, to be lukewarm is a scary thing. In lukewarm water sometimes you do not even feel like you are in water at all! Have you ever been in a room temperature pool or even the ocean? Sometimes you just stop noticing the water around you.
Why does this matter in regards to the verse? The Bible verse I am discussing today reminds us that God did not give us a Spirit of cowardice/ lukewarmness. We must remind ourselves continuously that we are given a spirit of power, love, and self-control.
I have reflected on the three gifts God gives us when we look towards Him. Power, love, and self-control all require ACTION. They all require the individual to remember who their Creator is and to always seek Him above all else.
Power reminds us that with God we have nothing to fear. Power reminds us that with God our strength is renewed. Power reminds us that with God we can and we will be brave.
Love reminds us to see the good in others everyday. Love reminds us to care for our neighbor. Love reminds us to find joy in serving others.
Self-control reminds us to form virtuous habits. Self-control reminds us to humble ourselves. Self-control reminds us to always keep our eyes fixed on Christ.
Tomorrow morning I will wake up.
I will feel exhausted.
I will not want to do the homework that will be due in a few hours.
I will not want to tackle all of the day’s anxieties.
However, I will look up to my ceiling.
I will take a deep breath and read the verse word by word.
I will put my feet on the floor and say confidently,
“With Christ by my side, I will not be a coward.”
* I understand there are many different interpretations/translations of this Bible verse. This is my favorite translation, so I decided to use it.