Sometimes, we forget how much God has given us. Sometimes we take that for granted. We need to know what God has given us in order to fight off the cares and traps of this world, so that we can spend eternity with Him. So starting today, I’m going to be looking at what God has given each and every one of His followers, and finding out what this is to look like in my life.
The first gift that I have decided to start with is found in Galatians 4:6.
1. Spirit of His Son
“God sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out ‘Abba, Father!” ~ Galatians 4:6
God has given us the innate desire to want to believe in a higher being that is in control. God has given us the ability to look to Him in an intimate relationship, as a father and his child. We see our earthly fathers as our protectors and providers. Our fathers are wiser than we are; they are loving, they look out for our needs, the keep us as innocent as they can for as long as they can. They are always there. This is what God offers to us if we will just take it.
We should desire God as much as Christ did. (“The Spirit of His Son“) Christ needed His Father immensely while here on earth. We see in Luke 5:16 that he “withdrew often into the wilderness and prayed.” And also in Matthew 26 we see Christ going to His Father through out the night before He was betrayed. How often do we set time aside to spend time with God? If we spent as much time with Him as we do our earthly father, would we even have a working relationship?
As Christ had the spirit of ultimate submission to God, as seen in the garden as he prayed “not my will, but thine”, so this spirit should also be seen in us. Too often we want to rebel and do it our own way, which is rejecting the spirit that God wishes us to put on as followers of Him. Or sometimes we don’t even ask this question, because we know that it is not God’s will, and we don’t want to be convicted of the truth.
Also, for clarification, by the word “spirit”, I don’t mean an indwelling of the Godhead. but, as Thayer defines it, the “disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one”. We have a choice as to what spirit our lives are made of.
Similarily, in Romans 8:15- “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out “Abba, Father.”
Since this verse is very much alike Galatians 4:6, I want to focus more on the word that is different in this verse. Galatians brings out the word “adoption”. We have been adopted by God, by none of our own merit. God offers to us the ability to become His because of the great love He has for us. Even while we were covered in filth and sin, and even when the righteousness that we can hold up to Him is still as filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)
Another gift that God has given us in found in 2 Timothy 1:7.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and a sound mind.”
2. Spirit of Power: God gives us the ability to proclaim His word without fear of consequences. Micah had this power, as we see in Micah 3:8.
“But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.”
We also see Jeremiah telling himself that he would not speak the word of God any longer, yet it burned within him and needed to be proclaimed. (Jer. 20:9)
In Acts 20:24 we see that Paul had no fear whatsoever, but trusted in the power of God. “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy.”
Hebrews 13:6 “So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 2:15 tells us that Christ through His death has “released those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” It is only when we no longer fear death and what man can do to us that we are truly free. Why is it that after being freed from this bondage, we so easily go right back to our confines of fear? What do we really have to be afraid about?
3. Spirit of Love
“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.” ~ 1 Peter 1:22
When reading 1 John 4:18, we usually just focus on the part that says “perfect love casts out fear.” But if you go up to verse 17, it says,
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; Because as He is, so are we in this world.”
Love is connected with boldness in this verse. Today we find love coupled with tolerance. This is not the biblical love. If we have the love Christ showed while on earth, we will boldly proclaim His truth because we love people’s souls. Christ’s love on the cross had to be bold as well. The word “bold” sometimes comes across to me as synonymous with being brash or prideful. But I think boldness in the Christian life is to be more of a quiet standing up, no fear; a peaceful emotion. It is a balance of being peacable and gentle and still having a freedom in speaking, unreservedness in speech, and speaking openly, frankly, and without concealment. Boldness is more related to confidence. Many times we are guilty of beating around the bush when asked why we don’t participate in worldly activities.
If you really love, you don’t fear.
4. Spirit of a sound mind:
“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” ~ 1 Cor. 2:4
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God…” ~ 2 Cor. 10:4-5
We don’t have to be blown about by every wind. We are to stand firm in our faith, knowing what we believe, and why. It is only when we have a firm foundation that we are able to build, and able to defend our faith. Without a sound mind, we will be easily swayed by the wisdom of men, and find ourselves in false doctrine.
The Proverbs are full passages about “soundness”. In Proverbs 8:14 we see wisdom personified, and she says that “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom.” And again in chapter 2 verse 7, it says “He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” The Lord is the beginning of this sound mind that we get from wisdom, as we see in Proverbs 8:22 “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way.”
The Greek word that is translated as ‘sound mind’ is the word “sophronismos”. That is defined by Thayer as an “admonition or calling to soundness of mind, to moderation and self-control.” The verb form is “sophronizo”, and defined as “restore to one’s senses, to moderate, control, curb, discipline. To hold one’s duty, to admonish, to exhort earnestly.”
I think most of what being a Christian is about can be tied up in the definition of having the spirit of a sound mind.
Are we taking advantage of these gifts God has bestowed upon us? Are we acknowledging God as our Father, both in supplication and in submission? Do we trust Him to take care of us? Are we giving in to a spirit of fear, or are we casting aside all that traps us in this world below and looking to the eternal? Do we have the spirit of power, to boldly proclaim God’s message? Do we have the spirit of love, so that we truly care for other’s place in eternity, and are able to love our brethren? Do we have a sound mind that can refute the false teachers, and that can be firmly grounded in God’s word? Are we disciplining and controlling our fleshly desires, and at the same time admonishing and exhorting our brethren?