II Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (NASB). This scripture names three qualities we are given by The Spirit of God. I am not saying we can, but If we could choose one of them we desire most, which would it be? What If God were choosing the one He most wants for us, which would it be? Love? Power? Discipline?
It may sound like I am trying to determine which of the three qualities is most important. What I mean to imply is that we tend to value power and love and relegate discipline to some lesser value. We may readily see the spirit of power and love as important to our struggle against the spirit of timidity. The spirit of discipline, I contend, is equally important.
The New International Version (NIV) and New Living Translation (NLT), name the third quality “self-discipline. The New Century Version (NCV) and Contemporary English Version (CEV) translate the word “self-control.” The New American Standard Bible (NASB) has simply the word “discipline,” while the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) prefers the words “sound judgment.” The KJV (King James Version) and the NKJV translate the third quality “a sound mind.” Taken together, all of these translations provide a clearer understanding of what is intended.
Self-discipline or self-control plays a valuable role in our behavior when facing temptation, frustration, confusion, criticism, confrontation, indecision, anxiety, fear, intimidation, affliction, depression, misfortune, chaos, and loss. In all these things we must not be controlled by a spirit of timidity or fearfulness. We have been given by God a spirit of power, love and self-discipline. This is our challenge. With an understanding of what God has done and is doing in us, “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13).