“... God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” ~2 Timothy 1:7 (NRSV).
In this verse, God gives us three things; each is manifest in courage.
Courage, as a virtue, is relevant in three unique facets of life—all evident relationally. These three relational realms exist by our interaction with God, with others, and with ourselves.
The Lord gives us three gifts of spiritual courage; each has a role in helping with each of these three relationship types.
God gives us power for our relationship with him—and elsewhere—when we seek him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. We get love to defy timidity for our relationships with others. Finally, we’re given a sound mind, or self-discipline, to enhance our relationship with our person—for, the double-minded undisciplined person is cantankerous with themselves, even if that manifests in anger toward God or others, too.
Spiritual Courage through POWER
The first gift in relationships is always power; to sense and take the initiative or respond appropriately, to feel quietly capable, and to have healthy buoyancy about us that is threatened by little so far as rapport is concerned.
Power is wherewithal. It is where everything starts. Every creative process depends on power. Most definitively, in the present context, we need to have been given access to power in order to relate with God.
Revelation is power; the instilling of irrefutable fact; the sense that truth is known, for truth is fundamental power. This power is invisible, and unless certain conditions are present, it’s impossible to claim.
Spiritual courage through power is only accessible through rebirth in Christ.
Spiritual Courage through LOVE
The bequest of love is the portion of courage to get to truly know people because we have no weight of timidity lingering over our conscious awareness. Most will see this as self-confidence, but really it is love, because we’re interested in the other person.
It comes to us through the first gift—power. As we relate with God, in confidence that his grace is sufficient for us, such power brims over, and our overflowing cup ensures capacity for spiritual enthusiasm; power is made real in energy for love toward others.
This comes out as courage; the truth is, however, there is now no longer fear regarding interacting with others. We are compelled from within to engage.
Spiritual Courage through SELF-DISCIPLINE
Perhaps the hardest of all gifts to welcome, and therefore acquire, is the elusive spiritual courage of self-discipline.
This is that ability to identify with Christ—sacrificing all if necessary—in this case for obedient self-development—in such a way that any personal goal is made achievable and sustainable over the longer term.
The transformation of minds, an essential practical issue here, is only really available through God.
Self-help and pop psychology are ultimately forlorn.
Fundamental to all blessings, as we relate with ourselves, is having the spiritual courage of self-discipline. It chooses against worldliness, and for God’s agenda.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.