Wow there is so much in this chapter!
V 9-10 have some foundational truths that we need to remind ourselves of daily.
God saved us. And this passage makes it clear that it has nothing to do with anything we have done. We all have sinned and so do not deserve to be saved. But God showed such mercy and grace to us in saving us. And not just saving us but enabling us to live a holy life. This was always God’s plan. Jesus, in dying for us, broke the power that sin and death had over us that separated us from God and has enabled us to have a relationship with God and one day to go and be with Him forever! What an incredible couple of verses!
Not only does this chapter remind us of some amazing truth it also tells us some practical things we can do.
Use the gifts
V6 tells us to ‘This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.’ (NLT) All of us who have received this wonderful grace from God have been filled with the Holy Spirit. That means we already have access to all the spiritual gifts: tongues, prophecy, words of knowledge, words of wisdom and so many others listed in the Bible.
Paul is saying these gifts are already within you now ignite them – use them! 1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us to earnestly seek these gifts – meaning they are available to us but you have to choose to receive them and use them. The evidence of these gifts in our lives comes as we seek God more and more for prophecy and words of knowledge etc and then step out in sharing and acting upon what He says to us. It is only as we do that they grow stronger and stronger in our lives.
Say NO to fear!
V7 tells us not to be fearful – that fear doesn’t come from God and so we can boldly and confidently step out in these gifts we have been given. Easier said than done but is an important reminder that fear does not come from God and we don’t have to let it hold us back in our lives because we have His Spirit living inside of us. I love how the AMP words v7 ‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].’ God did not make us timid, nor did He make us to chicken out or fear. So we can step out in the power, love and sound judgement God has given us and as we do we will experience His peace – the calm and well-balanced mind described here. As both Andy and Kees have spoken about spiritual gifts in our heart of worship series – Let’s go for it!
V13 reminds us to hold fast to what we have learnt from the Bible and the mature believers who have spoken into our lives and been a great example to us. We can do this by encouraging others and walking through life together ‘with faith and love in Jesus’. A great way to do this is to be part of a life group – find one to join if you are not part of one!
Guard the Truth
V14 tells us to guard the truth that we have received. Truth like v9-10 and so many other incredible passages in the Bible. That means we need to remind ourselves of this truth even when it doesn’t feel true. We can make a choice to guard the truth of God’s word because it is the most precious thing – don’t let anyone or anything steal it from you! The Holy Spirit will help us to do this – listen to what He is saying. This truth spoken about includes the promises God has made in His word but also the personal promises He makes to each of us. God recently showed me how I need to guard and protect promises from Him. A few years ago I was given a prophecy which was a promise from God. But as time has gone on this promise still hasn’t been fulfilled. As a result, I had allowed myself to actually start to doubt and question whether it even was a promise from God! This is why we need to guard the truth and promises over our lives because the enemy can very subtly cause you to forget, question and doubt them particularly when things don’t happen in the way you’d like or expect.
So let’s go for it standing firm and guarding the precious truth God has given us but also stepping out boldly in using the gifts He has given us too!