For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJV)
Culture shock. It is unsettling for any global worker, and I was no exception. My husband and I returned to the United States in 2016 after living overseas for several years. The presidential election was in full swing, and the chaos and polarization that surrounded it was disorienting. Watching things unfold from afar had provided some protection against the vitriol going on back home. However, experiencing it at home amplified the culture shock I was already struggling to process.
The presidential election is only one event since 2016 that has grabbed our attention in the public square—natural disasters, humanitarian crises, war, racial tension, cultural shifts, controversial elections, and a pandemic. But, as I write, I wonder, what world event will be capturing our attention when this devotion is published?
How can we engage with the events of our day in a way that elevates the truth of God’s word rather than would have us descend into rabbit holes of rhetoric that lead to destructive polarization?
You can feel the urgency in Paul’s second letter to Timothy as he senses the cultural shift in attitudes towards the Christian faith in Rome and the pressure of his impending execution. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul encourages Timothy to remember that he possesses the Holy Spirit, who imparts power, love, and a sound mind. Paul’s words are no less true in our lives today.
The indwelling Holy Spirit gives us the power to speak the truth and act with courage. We can love in a way that allows us to engage the world with patience and understanding—unexpected traits in our environment. We can exhibit wisdom and discernment that flows from a sound mind.
When the Holy Spirit influences our thinking, we sift through the daily bombardment of opinions and fiery rhetoric with wisdom and discernment. We know to test what we hear and prove what is good, acceptable, and perfect in His sight (Romans 12:2). We form a biblical worldview that protects us from fear and theological error.
My dear friends, a biblically sound assessment of the issues of our day will often place us on a narrow and sometimes lonely road. A road that resists veering sideways and is covered by the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rest assured that when we find ourselves there, we are in the right place.
There is no area of life that does not have a biblical worldview attached to it.
Shirley Ralston (MACE, 2008) serves on the leadership team for the DTS-Houston Alumni Association. She is a writer, teacher, and pastor’s research team member at Houston’s First Baptist Church. She is also a founding member of the HFBC Missionary Care Team. Shirley and her husband, Jeff, reside in Houston after several years living in the Middle East and the South Pacific.