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) (translated from RVR60).
During Franco’s dictatorship, evangelicals in Spain were second-class citizens.
So we were discriminated against in cemeteries, in jobs, in the army, in social life in general.
Many times they closed our places of worship with any pretext; and this discrimination was so evident that Spain was excluded from access to some international aid for this reason.
In this context, the natural thing to do would be to try to maintain what is called a low profile. Do nothing and wait for better times.
However, this is not what happened.
It is true that large signs were avoided in the churches, and multitudinous activities were not carried out. Despite this, however, the premises were attacked or closed by the authorities. And many times they had to meet clandestinely in the houses.
But they dared to point out themselves in the midst of a world that discriminated and rejected them.
And God was faithful to that faithful church. Because of this, the church grew, and a lot, during that time. And despite all the difficulties, God used them to lay the foundation upon which the church of today stands.
But they have not been the only ones. Throughout the Bible, with characters such as Daniel, Rahab, Nehemiah, or the prophets, as well as throughout history, we have the example of many other servants and handmaids of God who took on similar challenges.
And don’t think that they were special people, endowed with great character or an overwhelming personality. The vast majority were simple people, whose only strength was their love for Christ.
My paternal grandmother was a simple woman. And yet he organized clandestine prayer meetings in his house, even though his neighbor downstairs was a colonel in Franco’s army.
There have been many, because if there is one thing we must be clear about, when we decide to follow Christ and live for him, it is that we are going to face many and great oppositions. But God will always be with us.
And the apostle Paul knew this well.
Therefore, when Paul writes his second letter to the young Timothy, who is following in his footsteps in God’s work, the first thing he tells him is to hold tightly to the Holy Spirit in order to overcome all the trials he will have to face.
Thus, in that second letter to Timothy, in chapter 1 and verses 7 and 8 Paul tells him: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed to bear witness for our Lord, nor for me, his prisoner, but share in the afflictions for the gospel according to the power of God.
When we submit our lives to God we receive the wonderful gift of salvation. But with it also comes a great responsibility: to be witnesses of Christ so that others may also come to his feet.
And for this we need the power of God. Power to know how to be still, and power also to act.
For it is true that we have been called to be meek and to know how to keep our impulses under the control of the Holy Spirit. But meekness does not mean cowardice, just as humility does not mean that we remain silent in the face of injustice.
That is why God has left us the Holy Spirit. A spirit of power to face situations and people without fear. For we will not go in our own strength, but we will be channels of God’s power.
But it is also a spirit of love, to reach out to those who suffer and to those who persecute us and to manifest to them the message of salvation and hope.
And it is a spirit of self-control, which will strengthen us not to give in to our natural impulses and selfishness, but will help us to keep our eyes focused on the cross of Christ and the will of the Father.
So now you know, from the first moment you lay your life at the feet of Christ you will suffer opposition and persecution from our adversary, so that you will not carry out God’s plan in your life.
But like all those who have gone before us, you too will have that same spirit of power, love and self-control that God generously gives us, and that will make real in your life the words we find in the 2nd Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 2 and verse 14: But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ Jesus, and through us manifests in every place the fragrance of his knowledge.
God bless you.
Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash
En el Valle de Sombra de Muerte
A lo largo de nuestras vidas, todos vamos a pasar por valles de oscuridad y dolor.
Pero la Palabra de Dios da ánimo, y nos muestra cómo seguir adelante en dichos momentos, y vencer.