You can't just study all the time when you're in college, you need a little diversion, right? For me it was that little social action group I put together called The Vigilantes. Now, our social action consisted of very strategic maneuvers - otherwise known as practical jokes. One of them turned out to be very impractical, actually. One well known senior had just gotten engaged and we felt he was especially deserving a special engagement, ahh, commemoration, shall we say. He was the advisor in the dorm of about forty freshman and we were seniors, hey, no problem getting in, putting our friend through a few engagement rituals, and leaving, right? That's what we thought. There were eight of us in our little war party and no sooner had we all gotten in the door of the dorm than we were attacked by 40 out-of-control freshmen. Someone had leaked our raid and our friend had all the freshmen ready to cream us! It wasn't very pretty. We slithered back to our dorms, sulked, humiliated, by freshmen no less! But I couldn't leave it there, of course, I went door to door in our dorm recruiting a small army in the name of "upper class honor." Pretty soon we had about 60 rowdy guys packed into a dorm lounge preparing for a return raid, those freshmen saw us coming in, it was the same eight guys, and they started coming at us, but the upper class men just kept coming. The freshmen learned their humility lesson that night, and our friend finally had his engagement appropriately celebrated. Oh, we had suffered a serious setback, but we responded aggressively!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Refusing To Retreat."
Our word today from the Word of God comes from 2 Timothy 1:7. Understand that Paul is writing this from a tiny cell in a prison in Rome. I've been in what they believe was the cell. Soon he'll be put to death for his stand for Jesus Christ. Now, listen to what he says, "God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline." I mean, Paul has lost a lot of the people he has counted on, he's suffered all kinds of setbacks. He can't preach, he can't start any churches, his future looks bleak. Sounds like a scenario for a retreat mind-set, but, there's not a whisper of defeat here, of self-pity, or retreat.
Maybe you find yourself in a situation somewhat like Paul's right now? Serious limitations, there's so much you need and want to do, but the money is not there, your health isn't there, the help isn't there, your hands are tied, your resources are limited, maybe gone, your obstacles are overwhelming - the temptation? Well, let's say when we had that night when we got whipped real bad, go back and nurse your wounds, give it up, but God calls us here to refuse to lose! Basically he's saying, "Don't get timid now! No matter how limiting your circumstances look, keep the aggressive, conquering spirit of one who belongs to King Jesus."
Paul says, "Not a spirit of timidity, but of power." You may feel like a powerless victim, but quit focusing on you. Jesus' power isn't confined by the walls that surround you. Pray boldly, aggressively, go after victories as one who has the unlimited power of a risen Christ available to you. No stack of bills, no illness, no injury, no human failure can limit the power of Jesus.
Then have the spirit of love, he says. Don't start turning inward because of the hard times, keep pushing out, keep looking for people who need you, for people you can love and help in Jesus' name.
Then he talks about the spirit of self-discipline. Stay on course, man, don't let your feelings, or your fatigue win.
I know what it feels like to be knocked down, and not just from a long ago route in a college dorm. Many times since I face circumstances that seem to leave me powerless, only to discover again that retreat was not God's order. He's calling you right now against what your feelings and your environment may be telling you, to come out aggressively. You may be restricted, but you don't have to be retreating. You have power, love and self-discipline in Jesus Christ that can make you more than conqueror through Him who loved us.