For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. (2 Tim. 1:7)

In a tattoo shop window on a crooked little street in Kowloon, Hong Kong, Norman Vincent Peale saw this statement: “Born to lose.” Staring at those words, he realized this was one of the slogans a customer could have tattooed on his body. Other more common tattoos, like flags and mermaids, were also offered.

Astounded, Peale entered the shop and asked the Chinese man, “Does anyone actually have ‘Born to lose’ tattooed into his flesh?”

“Yes, some,” the man answered. But then, tapping his head, he added in broken English, “Before tattoo on chest, tattoo on mind.”

Paul, who lived centuries before, knew the dangers of thinking negatively about one’s potential. Whether he thought of “born to lose” or not, he counteracted that kind of thinking by reminding Timothy that God’s intention for all of us is not timidity, not a “loser” mentality, but rather “power, love and self-discipline.”

Left to our own devices, we might stumble into attitudes that makes us think, feel, and act like losers. But filled with the Spirit, as God intends, we can begin to face life with power, show love for God and others, and exercise self-discipline to cooperate with the Holy Spirit’s direction.

Contrast the tattooist’s slogan with the sign observed in a drugstore window: “I believe in me, for God made me and he don’t make no junk.”

Live in confidence that God’s Spirit will accomplish good things in you.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife Carol. He has written his weekly column, Positive Perspective, for more than thirty years.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.