Read 2 Timothy 1:1-14.

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline. Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our own works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us before the ages began. (2 Timothy 1:7-9)

The Spirit of God is most often called the “Holy Spirit.” It is the spirit of holiness, the desire for purity, the longing for the death of self in us.

God’s spirit is also called the Spirit of Love. God himself is love, and his spirit in us is the inspiration of love. Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Those who seek to know God need to look in their spirit, to their love.

In this passage, God’s spirit is also called the spirit of self-discipline. I think I could use a stronger infusion of that spirit.

But the headline description of the Spirit of God in this passage is the spirit of power. In this passage, power is opposed to cowardice, to lovelessness, to dissipation. The spirit of power is the spirit that is not ashamed to testify about our Lord or our afflictions or our callings according to his plan. Or that Jesus Christ gave us grace before the ages began.

John the baptist did not wear soft clothes, seeking comfort, or fine robes, seeking respect. He was not a reed swaying in the wind, blown to and fro by the world’s approbation or opprobrium. He spoke with the spirit of power.

Sometimes I think my tradition is afraid to speak about the spiritual life. Systematic theology, yes, the Spirit speaking in my heart, not so much. Salvation, yes, holiness, not so much.

Testify to what you have seen. Have no fear. Speak with power. He is able to keep that which you have entrusted to him.

Harry Plantinga

Harry Plantinga is a professor of computer science at Calvin University and the director of and