For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. ~2 Timothy 1:7
Recently, while I was witnessing to a young person about putting her faith in our Lord Jesus Christ for her salvation, she said that she was open to being saved but was very afraid of the persecution she would receive. She was fearful of being rejected by her peers and being made fun of, and she was concerned that some would physically assault her. As believers, all of us have the fear of our faith being ridiculed, rejected, and ostracized. Paul gives us a word of encouragement about these fears.
We see the reminder.
“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.” Timothy was a timid personality by nature. In addition, the increased persecution of Christians and the imprisonment of Paul by the Roman Empire was very unsettling for him. Paul strongly but lovingly reminded Timothy of his calling as a preacher and to stir it up. “Don’t forget what God called you to do!” “Don’t forget the day you were set apart for the gospel ministry through the laying on of hands.” Remember that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
We see the reinforcement.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear....” Paul told Timothy, “The fear that you have is not from God!” God has not given us the spirit of fear. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." "The fear of man bringeth a snare.” Living in fear paralyzes us and hinders action. Be careful of letting fear get the best of you. Don’t let your thoughts be hindered with fear and all the bad things that could happen.
We see the resources.
“But of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." Paul encouraged Timothy about the resources he was given so that fear would not overcome him. First, we have God’s power. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation....” “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” Second, we have God’s love that dwells in us. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” Perfect love is God’s love at work in our hearts. Third, we have been given a sound mind, or the ability to discipline our emotions and thoughts. Fear can become a stronghold. We must bring every thought captive to the obedience of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We see the responsibility.
“Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God….” Paul charges Timothy to not be ashamed of representing our Lord or of being associated with Paul as a preacher. Don’t retreat, but continue strong as a preacher of the gospel. Accept the risks and possible suffering that come with proclaiming the gospel. Accept the risks, but do so in the power of God. “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Yes, we live in a culture that is hostile to the gospel message, but God is greater than the culture. Keep preaching, witnessing, and winning souls. Take heart, and be faithful to the task you have been called to.
Have an emboldened God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Judges 6-7