I am a huge Rebecca Bender fan. Not just because she is a mentor of mine, but also because she is a prime example of how to speak up in wisdom. The purpose of Rebecca’s blog is to equip those who want to see a shift in culture. She is an excellent example of that, but more specifically how to overcome the fear of and the actual response of the culture you are going against the grain on.
We live in the most offended culture I have ever seen. An offense is often times fruit of insecurity and the reality is, you can’t make everyone happy. Surely we all know that, but yet we live in this perfectionistic performance lifestyle. Walking around like nothing we can ever say or do is going to be good enough. There are so many things we want to say, but fear snatches it from our mouths every time.
That could be because we just haven’t discovered and stepped into our identity yet, or maybe we have spoken up and were shut down. 2 Timothy 1:7 lays out precisely how we are to walk in confidence of the word God gave us, but also the fruit of wisdom in relaying that word.
“For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love, and self-control.”
I think we all know what timidity looks like because we feel it. It’s what’s holding us back from making the kingdom impact God designed for us too. Our focus has to be on the following three things.
There are 32 versions of the word “power” between Hebrew and Greek text. This one is “dynamis” and it also means: mighty work, strength, miracle, might, virtue. It’s the kind of presence and authority that’s completely captivating. It changes lives because it comes from an eternal source. You know how to get to that level? By living at the foot of the throne of heaven. What I mean by that is going beyond your 15 minute Bible study and “Jesus thank you for this food” prayer. I’m talking about developing a hunger for the things of God. Best way to do that is by committing yourself to worship no matter what your mood, circumstances, or day is like. To seek even when you don’t feel like it or aren’t “getting anything out of it.” I use to be there too, but I pushed past it by slowing down as I read. There are other methods like S.O.A.P to help you practice active listening to Holy Spirit while you are reading.
The Greek used here is “agape,” which is a sacrificial type of love. It is the love God has for us. It’s not based on performance or condition, it exists without all of that. It’s a love that is always grateful, giving, and grace-filled. You want to impact the culture, walking in that love is absolutely key. It puts off a presence of safety and trust. Love can shift any atmosphere and heart. It dismantles anger, argument, and every enemy.
“A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.” Proverbs 15:1
Some translations say “self-discipline.” This is a fruit of maturity, and incredibly hard when you are misunderstood. Our knee-jerk reaction is to clarify and/or defend ourselves. Reality is though, no one’s opinion on Earth means a dang thing in Heaven. Is it nice to be well received, absolutely. There is a very real enemy after us, and his specialty is tainting perception. The truth always comes out. Maybe not when we want it to, but it does. Relish in the promise of Proverbs 10:31, “The mouth of the godly person gives wise advice, but the tongue that deceives will be cut off.”
All of these things are not just attributes that come naturally. They must be intentionally cultivated, and that honestly happens behind the scene. Similar to planting a garden. It seems like it’s taking too long to see little sprouts come up, but you know that seedling is taking root and building a strong system beneath the surface before it makes an appearance. It is that preparation season that you get all confidence you need to be unphased by the culture you are embarking to change.
Lexie is a graduate and guest trainer of Elevate. She received a BA in Psychology from Lee University and currently resides in Nashville, TN as an active member of The Belonging Co. Church and Marketing Coordinator at Dave Ramsey Solutions.