Everyone is struggling. This has been an extraordinarily difficult time in our world for many in ways financially, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
As Christians, we can be encouraged that God wants to give us a specific kind of help during seasons like these. We don’t just go with the flow of culture, but we flow with the wind of the Holy Spirit.
What is the posture or attitude God gives us in difficult times like these? Scripture is crystal clear:
“For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline [sound mind]” (1 Timothy 1:6-7, NIV).
These verses have three traits plus instruction that are a guide from heaven about where we can turn when we don’t know what else to do:
1. In difficult seasons, God gives us a spirit of power.
Henrietta Mears once said, “Christianity is not adding a burden to your life, it is adding power.” The Scripture tells us that “the same power which raised Jesus from the dead now lives in us.” The word used for God’s power at work in the life of a believer is “dynamis,” the root word from which we get the word dynamite. That is some extreme power.
As my friend Andrew has said, “It is inconceivable to think the same power which raised Jesus from the dead would come into our life and do nothing.”
So, when times are dark and difficult, guess what you can count on? God’s power working in you, helping you stand firm in His truth when you don’t know if you have enough power on your own.
When does God give us this power? Ahead of time? Right when we need it. He gives us enough grace for each new day’s challenges and concerns at the time that we need it, as we rely on and stay close to Him.
How do we appropriate God’s power when we need it? Read the Scriptures, pray and ask God for His help and trust that He will carry us when we cannot carry ourselves.
2. In difficult seasons, God gives us a spirit of love.
When the world around us is going crazy, what does God call us to do, and who does He call us to be? Scripture is clear. It is not to suddenly become a person who is angry all the time, for “that does not bring about the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:12, NIV).
In difficult seasons, God calls us to the same thing He always has: to stand firm in His truth and love.
The world needs to see the truth and love of God now more than ever. In times like these, when everyone is raging and frustrated and tired, people need us to shine the love of Christ that doesn’t make sense based on the circumstances.
When tempted to respond or post in anger, God will help and use us to love. And the world will be changed, as we love one person at a time, even as we walk in God’s truth.
3. In difficult seasons, God gives us a sound mind.
If there’s ever been a time we need God to give us a “sound mind” it’s now when so many narratives and lies are being slung about every area of culture. When it feels like justice is not coming. When it feels like we can’t do anything about the problems in our world, God can and will give us a sound mind.
How we have a sound mind, when we feel our mind racing? We open up the Word of God. We listen to the preaching of God’s Word at our local church. We subscribe to biblically centered content on the web or through podcasts. As we consume God’s Word, we’ll find fulfillment, hope, joy, and peace in God instead of getting bogged down by the cares of the world. We pray and ask God to still our mind, and to give us His peace even when our circumstances don’t seem to allow for it. He promises to give us this, but we need to stay connected and close to Him to receive it.
4. Instruction: In difficult seasons, fan these traits into a flame inside of you.
1 Timothy 1:6-7 lists three traits, but it opens with instruction on how to appropriate the gifts God wants to give us. What are the gifts God wants to give us in difficult times? Power, love, and a sound mind.
How do we get them? In the same way as we build a great campfire to cook from, stay warm beside and to light our way in the darkness: we fan the flame.
How can we practically “fan the flame” of power, love, and a sound mind inside of us during difficult times? We need to stay connected to Jesus through remembering the gospel, through meditation on the Word of God, through prayer and experiencing God’s presence. Pray and ask for His comfort, grace, blessing, and strength for each new day. He will never fail to provide for your needs.
Fan power, love, and a sound mind by spending time with those who love Jesus and who fan that passion you have for the Lord. Fan the flame by consuming content that inspires and ignites your hope, peace, faith and love.
God will do these in you when you need it. He promises to. But He also calls us to fan the flame, so make sure you do, and you will experience the grace of God in your time of need.
Matt Brown (@evangelistmatt) is an author, evangelist, and founder of Think Eternity.