Dec 3rd, 2017
Todays podcast is a bit of a celebration. Number 50, yeah baby!
You know how there are some moments in your life that you’ll never forget, where you were, what you were doing, what you felt. For me, other than number 50, one of those moments would be the Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield boxing match on June 28th 1997, “The Sound and the Fury.” Holyfield was the self-proclaimed charismatic Christian who had become somewhat of an unofficial mascot for Christians in this fight; and Tyson had done everything he could to paint himself as just the opposite. In the third round Tyson bit off a one inch chunk of Holyfield’s right ear. When he tried to bite Holyfield’s left ear as well the fight was ended with a disqualification for Tyson.
This moment in history isn’t landmark and remember-able for me because of the bizarre circumstances with Holyfield’s ear or even because of the implications of Christian VS whatever Tyson was. This moment in history is a landmark memory for me because while this fight was airing live on Television I listened to it as a fifteen year old sitting in an E.R. waiting room in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There were these microscopic organisms that were eating my corneas and the day of that boxing match was day two of what would turn out to be three days of blindness. Three days of which I clung to 2 Timothy 1:7, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”
It was when I was fifteen that I found The Lord and decided I needed to go on a missions trip. I did the fundraising, packed my bags, and got the shots and my passport. Well, to be completely honest, my mother did most of that stuff. But once it was done I got on the plane and headed to the opposite side of the world. A little timid kid, completely uncomfortable in my own skin; didn’t get along too well with other people because I wanted to be in my shell. I didn’t want to open up, I didn’t want to participate; I was a super introvert.
I thought for sure, I was convinced, that I was going to die on this trip, on foreign soil surrounded by teenagers who were more mature than I was, more prepared than I was, and more Christian than I was. Not only was I uncomfortable in my skin, and surrounded by people that I didn’t have the courage to even make friendships with, but I was looking around every corner for when the next shoe was going to drop, when was this going to catch up to me, and when was I going to bite the dust.
I remember very vividly, we went on one trip up into the jungle in the mountains to reach a particular village. We loaded up in the backs of these trucks, just little pickup trucks like you see in the United States except they’ve put a tall camper over the back and built some benches along the insides of the truck bed. We’re going back and forth on these winding roads up the mountain and my imagination is just going. I’m thinking that around every corner armed men are going to come out of the jungle and hold us at gunpoint, and we’re not going to make it out of this alive.
This was the point in my life when I was introduced to, or really I should say the point that it stuck, 2 Timothy 1:7 that I ended up using when I was blind for three days, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” Or a sound mind the King James Version says. Knowing that scripture at the time gave me lots of courage to push on and cling to in my blindness. In that particular trip we got as far as the trucks could go and then we had to hike 10 more miles up the mountain carrying backpacks and sound equipment. We got there and led a significant number of people to the Lord with no problems and the rest of the trip was a completely different experience for me.
I just want to talk a little bit about this scripture. The scripture that the Christian culture: you, me, we’ve used it to justify a lot of areas where we feel afraid. Skydiving, bungee jumping, sports, and so on; we’ve really just adapted this scripture to be used in a lot of different areas, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. We should be finding encouragement and faith in the scriptures, but I want to talk in context what we’re looking at when we read this scripture. It says that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear. The word for fear there is:
G1167 δειλία deilia di-lee'-ah From G1169; timidity: - fear.
It’s literally timidity, and it comes from the Greek word deilos (di-los’) which is dread or being faithless. So that really applied to what I was feeling, not just in Thailand, but throughout my life as a whole. I was timid and unable to break out of my shell, but most of all I really didn’t have faith in God to take care of me. The scripture goes on to say that God has given us a Spirit of Power. Which is the word:
G1411 δύναμις dunamis doo'-nam-is From G1410; force (literally or figuratively); specifically miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself): - ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.
It’s where we get the word dynamite from. If you can imagine a little stick of TNT and when you light that fuse and it explodes there’s all of that power that comes out of it. God has given us that power. God has given us Love. The word there is:
G26 ἀγάπη agapē ag-ah'-pay From G25; love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: - (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love.
It’s considered to be a type of love that only God can express and we can access it through our relationship with Christ.
And lastly, a sound mind. Which really has become my favorite part of the verse over the years. A lot of people take that to mean senility, that they won’t go crazy, they won’t lose their mind. But, it’s the word:
G4995 σωφρονισμός sōphronismos so-fron-is-mos' From G4994; discipline, that is, self-control: - sound mind.
God has given me, you, us, the ability of self-control. I’m in control of my body, I’m in control of what it does and when it does it. I’m not at the whim of every sinful or lazy desire of my flesh.
In context when we consider 2 Timothy 1:6 the verse just before the one we’re looking at, “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you” and looking at the very next scripture after verse 7, 2 Timothy 1:8, “So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.” We have this power, and this love, and this sound mind, and we don’t have to be afraid when sharing the Gospel and using our gifts. We don’t have to be timid when we’re sharing the Gospel, we don’t have to be ashamed of the testimony of The Lord.
One of the greatest things about that testimony is that Jesus didn’t come to bring condemnation. Yes, people feel condemned when you bring up Jesus, but that’s because the condemnation that they’re feeling was already there. Jesus came to relieve that condemnation and to show us how to live a better life; how to love; how to rise above the world and the things that drag us down.
Until next time…