2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that God has not given us a Spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline. These gifts aren't likely to be the top three things that most of us have come to mind when we think we are equipped to achieve our goals and dreams. But I believe they are more important than any amount of talent, determination, or education.
First, power. We have to remember that any ability we have to achieve anything comes from God. If He takes the breath out of us that He put in us, we are home with Him in an instant. If we can't even breathe without Him, nothing else we ever do whether it's writing a book, becoming a CEO, or raising kids that love and serve Jesus, was done in our own power. All of it came from Him. Just take a moment and think back to the days when naps were resisted and you somehow still managed to get groceries bought, dinner on the table, and a shower. That wasn't you, that was all Him. If we rely on His strength to do what He is pressing on our hearts, we have a power source that is unlimited. We just have to tap into it.
Second, love. I don't think it's possible to understand God's unconditional love, but I do think it's possible to display it. Several months ago, I told my doctor that I think the hardest thing for us to do is to love others unconditionally in all the ways they are different from us. But the good thing is we don't have to do it on our own we just need to focus on loving others as God loves us -without limits, boundaries, and ulterior motives. If we think of others and loving them well first, we won't do anything for our own benefit but for theirs. When our attention is on serving rather than gaining, in God's economomy that always brings a blesssing.
Third, self-discipline. This one is so tricky. If we can't even breathe on our own, how on earth are we supposed to keep ourselves on task with so many distractions? I don't know that there is a single best answer for this, but I think it's a combination of doing everything we do as if we are working for the Lord not human masters, having the mind of Christ, and setting our hearts on things above. Judah Smith wrote two things in How's Your Soul that are relevant to this. (a) When your soul starts to consider an eternal God who is intimately involved in your existance, there are shifts in your thinking and priorities. Jesus changes things. and (b) Jesus thought about heaven, then earth. He looked at what mattered above and He let that define His values, emotions, and decisions on earth. If we follow the example of Jesus and keep God's priorities as the fuel of our purpose and mission, His ability to keep things in order will transfer to us and we will accomplish more than we think we can because we won't get sidetracked nearly as easily.
And so I ask again, what would you do if you knew you could not fail? Start a charity, go back to school, lead a Bible study? Whatever your answer is, if God is leading you to it, He is going to equip you with what you need for success: His power, love, and self-discipline. He just wants us to step out in the faith, knowledge, and confidence that He will see through to completion what He's stirring in our hearts.
Lord, all of us have dreams that have been planted by You. Remind us that more than resources and opportunities, we need your power, love, and self-discipline to fulfill Your purposes for our lives. Make us bold enough to believe that as You call us, You will see us through the process of working to bring You glory. Squash any fear that may be holding us back and lead us to the place where our trust is without borders. We love you. Amen.