LEARNING TO USE YOUR AWESOME GIFTS FOR SERVICE TO OTHERS
THE WAY OF LOVE
This lesson begins with Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, being in prison and writing a letter of encouragement to his son Timothy. Paul begins with these words, 8-10So don’t be embarrassed to speak up for our Master or for me, his prisoner. Take your share of suffering for the Message along with the rest of us. We can only keep on going, after all, by the power of God, who first saved us and then called us to this holy work. We had nothing to do with it. It was all his idea, a gift prepared for us in Jesus long before we knew anything about it. However, we know it now. Since the appearance of our Savior, nothing could be plainer: death defeated, life vindicated in a steady blaze of light, all through the work of Jesus.
This is the Message I have been set apart to proclaim as a preacher, an emissary, and teacher. It is also the cause, of all this trouble I am in. Nevertheless, I have no regrets. I could not be surer of my ground—the One I have trusted in can take care of what he’s trusted me to do right to the end.
So keep at your work, this faith and love rooted in Christ, exactly as I set it out for you. It’s as sound as the day you first heard it from me. Guard this precious thing placed in your custody by the Holy Spirit who works in us. (II Timothy 1:8-14 MGS)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (II Timothy 1:7 AMP)
My question to you today is, do you know what gifts God has equipped you with? Do you understand that you are a marvelous created person? Each one of you has been given a very special gift. You were created in the image of God.
You My Friends, you were created for God’s own purpose and service in this life. Do not think that God made a mistake when he purposed you to do great things. God never gives us a task to do without empowering us to carry it out.
Today I want to teach this lesson from three different precepts. 1. Power, 2. Love and 3. Self discipline. These three precepts when mixed together with the process and your purpose in this life will provide you with the greatest prosperity ever known to humankind. By taking the time to study this lesson, means that you are truly beginning the process. The process may not be easy, but the process is what you must go through in order to arrive at your destination. The one reason why so many of us fail at the task that has been assigned to us is that we work so hard to skip over the process in order that we may receive the prosperity. Remember, God created everything in an orderly process, and if we are to receive the benefits of God’s gifts to us, we must do the same. God created the process for our benefit.
The bible teaches us that God did not bring us this far to leave us, and God will never put on us more than we can bear. We are uniquely designed, with great powers of our minds to carry us to great heights.
In Jeremiah 33:3, we see that God spoke to Jeremiah and told him these words, “Call me,” “and I will show you great powers that you never imagined that you had before.” The powers to do great things were given to us before we were conceived in our Mothers womb. We can use these powers to climb great mountains, to build huge skyscrapers, build sophisticated spaceships, which are capable of taken us into space and then returning us safely to earth. These are just a few of those great achievements that God has shown us that the powers of our minds can accomplish anything providing that we attune our minds with God mine. In the bible the book of Philippians it states, “Let this mind that is in Christ be also in you. When we connect our minds with the mind of Christ, our blessings of prosperity will begin to flow like an untamed river flowing its waters back into the sea. That is what power and especially the powers of our minds will do for us.
We do not need to have naturally powerful personalities. God gives us strength of character and confidence that wins us respect when we face opposition as we speak, preach, and live the truth. God supernaturally replaces any timidity on the servant’s part with boldness. Such power is difficult to discredit. Power, God awesome powers. Understand the very important gift that God has equipped you with. Learn to believe in it, use the powers of your mind to practice the task you have been assigned this day, and as you grow in God’s grace prosperity will begin to flow to you in great abundance.
The second precept is love. This is one that we could spend the whole day studying and never reach the end. Scripture for this text states God did not give us a spirit of fear, but he gave us a spirit of power and a spirit of love. Oh, what a wonderful God, who saw our needs before we entered into this world. Therefore, he provided us with the awesome powers to love. God taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love comes from the inside of each one of us. When we truly learn to love ourselves as God has taught, we can begin to love others with a spirit of un- conditional love. In John 316 the bible says that God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him shall not parish but have eternal life. My friends that is truly an unadulterated pure love. A love that is unmatched, by anything else that we have ever know in this life.
Now listen to how Paul speaks of the greatest gift that has ever been given to humankind. Paul calls it “THE WAY OF LOVE.” (I Corinthians 13:1-13 MSG)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
The virtues of faith, hope, and love are necessary in this age, but is the age to call come, faith will be way to sight, and hope will turn into experience. Love alone is eternal, for God is love. (I John 4:8.)
Now we come to the third and final precept, which is self-discipline this can also translate to the art of self-control or sound mind. However, we may perceive it, we must understand that it is a part of our mind power that God has provided us with and we must learn how to control ourselves under all circumstances. The power of your Mind is truly awesome. You can use your mental powers to achieve success that, up until now, you have only ever dreamed of. It is a Universal truth that life tends to move you towards the physical equivalent of your predominant thoughts and feelings. A great many people are well aware of this fact but most find it extremely difficult to apply this knowledge and put it to work effectively in their lives. Are you one of those people? If you are, then do not worry because I am about to show you how to overcome this little problem.
Now for all of us, our training in the art of self-discipline begin the very moment when we come into the knowledge of the truth of this proverb, “listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” Self-Discipline means that you are wise enough to obey this proverb and have acquired enough wisdom, knowledge and understanding to begin the process of training your mind as well as your physical body in the art of self-discipline, Being obedient to the word and able to climb that great mountain of obstacles, and manifest your dreams into reality.
As a Godly leader, and a follower of Jesus, our spiritual lives should form the core of our character. Our training should be a daily process in building up the spiritual mind in order that it will always prevail against the evil spirits of the devil. Our training should be like that of a runner or a boxer. During the course of a race, runners do not stagger from one lane to another. They rivet their attention on the finish line and run a disciplined race toward it. So also, boxers train with purpose so they can absorb powerful blows without falling down. They build up their physical stamina so that their legs will hold out for the final rounds.
A wrestler once asked his coach, “can’t I smoke and drink and have a good time and still wrestle?” The coach replied, “yes you can, but you can’t win! We as Christians and godly leaders cannot win the race either, if we are unwilling to discipline ourselves to studying and obeying the word of God.
Now if you truly want to be a godly leader, and learn to serve humanity, you must cultivate your spiritual journey like a world-class athlete. Why? In order for you to finish the race without being disqualified, you must develop the art of self-control. By doing this you can and will affect other areas of your life-how we treat others, where we go for answers to major decisions, and the skills we use in accomplishing our daily tasks.
When we study (2 Timothy 1:7), we soon discover that Paul was prompted to encourage his fellow worker to maintain a holy boldness and assurance in his position of spiritual leadership. Paul had commissioned Timothy to oversee many of the churches in the Roman province of Asia, and this task required “a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” Self-discipline is needed to stretch us beyond our own comfort zones and areas of personal inertia. For some, the needed discipline will be more in the realm of the emotions; for others the focus of self-control will be in the realm of the mind or of the will.
Writing to the Galatians, Paul said that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
While people without Christ can exercise self-control, this quality in its fullest expression of character transformation is a part of the spiritual fruit that only the Holy Spirit can produce in us.
Self-discipline is seldom easy. Paul’s words to Timothy revealed that this young man probably struggled with it in his ministry. And most leaders who come across the need for more self-discipline in their lives struggle at times as well. God’s Spirit is the power source behind self-discipline.
In conclusion, let me say that all of these three precepts of qualities are gifts of the Spirit, not just natural tendencies. They function best in harmony. Under the pressures of leadership, people tend to gravitate toward a desire for power and boldness as the most effective tools for success. However, used alone, these qualities are self-defeating. The inclusion of love and self-control clearly indicates that a leader’s effectiveness comes from God’s Spirit. We may be impressed by a leader who exhibits boldness and power, but without love or self-control, such a leader is little more than a bully.
Now with your understanding of these three precepts, we urge you to come boldly before the throne of grace, preach and teach the word of God with all the awesome powers God has given you. Preach the word in season and out of season, and never give into the evil spirits that will call upon you to speak otherwise. You are a servant of Christ, as such, you were provided with spiritual gifts to serve others, and your job daily is to go into the world carry the gospel to those who are in great need wherever they may be. Do this in the name of Jesus. Amen!