2007-05-30 - Power, Love, Discipline
2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and discipline.
The old Church Father Chrysostom had a saying that since it was in Greek, I will not try to reproduce here, but it essentially meant, unanswerable syllogisms. That might take a moment to explain, but it essentially says that are certain things that demonstrate our faith, such that no one can produce an argument against us, or our faith. These are unanswerable syllogisms. A syllogism is a form of reasoning that is based on a major or primary premise, minor premise, and a conclusion. It is essentially a form of logic that says if A is true, and B is true, then the conclusion drawn from A and B is also true. That is very simple, but the point is that there are certain aspects of the Christian life, that silence all those who would argue against it. Today I would suggest that the above verse from 2 Timothy gives us three such unanswerable syllogisms. These are the power, love, and discipline that accompany the Christian life.
The first thing mentioned, to take notice of, is power. We don't talk much about power in the Christian life, but we have real power through the Holy Spirit. We have amazing power in prayer. We really don't know the kind of power we possess as followers of the Creator and Lord of the universe. It is something to which there is no answer, for those that would seek to ridicule our faith. There is even one more power that we have in Christ, that we dare not fail to notice. In Christ, we have power over sin. Sin is no longer our master. It may often feel that it has a hold on us, but its power is slain in the cross of Christ for the follower of Christ. It is an amazing realization, that sin is no longer our master.
Love and discipline, I will simply lump together for the sake of space. What we can clearly say is that these both, and other things also, make it hard to deny the reality of the Christian faith. Lives are changed. The one who cared little about wasted time becomes disciplined. The person who lived a selfish life, caring for little outside of themselves, develops a contra-mindset and starts to think about others. They love, and seek to love more, as they grow deeper in their faith. The lives and changes within believer's lives are some of the arguments that naysayers of the Christian faith can't dispute. They are the unanswerable arguments that Chrysostom had in mind. There are many of these, but when we live up to our faith, we stand as examples of the truth of our faith commitments. When we live down our profession, we not only hurt ourselves, but also the faith we claim to believe.
Let us seek to ever live in a manner that is worthy of such a holy and loving God. Power, love and discipline are only three aspects of our Christian lives. There are many more, but we can be sure that the Spirit we have been given in Christ is not one of timidity, but rather one that is worthy of such a high calling of being a child of God.
Soli Deo Gloria,