Check back each Monday for a short devotional with Chaplain Art Pace to help you start the week off well.
[F]or God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.2 Tim 1:7
In his final letter before his death, the Apostle Paul reminds his disciple Timothy that fear is not from God. Instead, God gives us the spiritual gifts of power, love, and self-control. Paul is saying that whatever opposition we face, we should have a spirit of victory and not of fear.
A great example of this is the story of Saint Valentine. While there are mixed stories surrounding Valentine, the more common story is the one that I find the most inspiring.
Emperor Claudius in the third century was concerned that his army was losing its readiness because his soldiers were distracted by loyalty and concern for their wives and families. So he decreed that soldiers could no longer get married. Seeing such a decree as a violation of God’s intentions for his people, Valentine, who was a priest, began to conduct secret weddings for the soldiers. When Claudius found out, he ordered Valentine to be executed. On February 14th, around 270 AD, Valentine was beaten to death and then beheaded. But he never recanted or backed down from his Christian faith. Before he was martyred, he wrote a letter to his jailer’s daughter who had befriended him, and signed it “your Valentine.” His commitment to biblical marriage eventually resulted in February 14th being a day to let people know how much we care about them. We call them our Valentines. We can learn much from Valentine’s commitment to Jesus Christ.
When anyone attacks Christians because of our biblically centered faith, our response should not be one of backing down in fear. Instead, in the power of the Holy Spirit, with the fullness of God’s love, we are to stand firm and practice self-control in our reaction.
What challenges to your faith are causing you to be afraid right now? What lessons can you learn from the actions of Saint Valentine?