For God hath not given us the Spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Our rescue dog, Ginger, seems to dislike men. She barks ferociously, while wagging her tail in circles, whenever a man comes to our door. One day, a landscaper came to give us a bid, and when he stepped through our front door, Ginger took it upon herself to let him know that was not okay with her. She grabbed his pant leg and tore the knee right out. The man looked at me as if I had just shot his grandmother. I grabbed my wallet and gave him all the cash I had to buy a new pair of jeans. Later, our vet told me that Ginger most likely behaved this way out of fear, not aggression. After that incident, my husband and I have made an effort to make sure Ginger feels safe when people come to the door. While one of us answers the door, the other holds her tight until she calms down. Only then is she allowed to investigate the visitor. So far, this procedure has worked well.
Fear causes strange reactions in both animals and people. The words in today’s Scripture passage remind us that fear can paralyze us or make us react in anger or aggression, preventing us from accessing God’s power, love and self-control. The key word in this passage is “Spirit.” At Pentecost, the Spirit was poured upon the new Christians as a gift from the Father and the Son (Acts 2). This Spirit lives within us and allows us to remember all the things God wants us to know (1 Corinthians 2:12). It is the Spirit Who enables us to have the “mind” of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16), and to conquer fear in this earthly life (2 Timothy 1:7). We truly hold the power, love and sanity (sound mind) of Christ when we allow the Spirit to direct our path.
Just as Ginger reacts aggressively when she is really just afraid, we can easily become defensive or even antagonistic in uncomfortable situations. The antidote to this behavior is to ask the Spirit to guide us into behavior that honors God and keeps us in perfect peace.
Spirit of Perfect Peace, hold us tight when we are fearful. Fill us with Your power, love and sanity. Amen
Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has worked with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and war veterans. Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .