Leading in Love and Self-Control

Recently, my congregation used 2 Timothy 1:6-7 as its Centering Word. Each month we have a Centering Word to help us focus on an important passage of scripture for us. Paul wrote, “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you. . . for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” Paul’s words are

a good reminder as we enter into the busiest part of the holiday season. The gift of faith in our lives is easily neglected, especially in this day and age when there are so many competing demands. Yet, our faith in God’s love shown through Jesus is the foundation upon which we stand. The Holy Spirit gathers us to be a community that is centered on the good news that God loves us. 
Paul’s call to rekindle the faith comes with a reminder: God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. As we live in faith, the Holy Spirit is at work in us, giving us faith so that we do not shrink in the face of difficulties.
As the world around us devalues the role of faith in our lives, we stand with confidence, knowing that the Holy Spirit is at work among us. Even as we wonder what our future might be, the Spirit is calling us to focus on loving the neighbor through all the actions we undertake, including actions related to generosity.
Power that is qualified by love and self-control is displayed in the church as we work together to encourage each other in faith and in good works. We best use the power given us by the Holy Spirit when we speak well of each other and explain each other’s actions in the best possible way. Power emptied of love and self-control damages communities and leads to destruction and despair. When power is guided by love it is becomes life-giving and has the potential to lead the church forward in mission.
God has good things in store for the church. God keeps calling us to grow in faith, in love, in confidence, in ministry. Therefore, we must not shrink in the face of challenges, but in love stand with one another as people who encourage the church, its members and ministries, toward excellence. God’s church deserves our best.
Photo, Church in Iceland, is by Bryan Pocius. It has been modified. Use and modification of this photo is granted according to Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0).

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