2 Timothy 1:7- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. NKJV
We’ve finally gotten to a place where COVID isn’t dictating our every move and we can breathe a little easier! Or can we? As the world watches what is unfolding in Ukraine we can’t help but wonder, where will this all end? Fear is always looking for a way to overtake us, but God’s plan involves us overtaking fear!
The first part of this verse is really key to understanding the entire verse. For God has not given us the spirit of fear! We don’t have to do a Google search to figure out what is meant by the word fear. Fear enters our heart when we become anxious, worried, or distressed over something or someone that we generally have little to no control over. We have all experienced fear on some level! But the wonderful thing about fear is that it doesn’t come from God!
As I mentioned already, there is a lot of fear being stirred over what is happening in Ukraine. As I watched the build up of tanks outside of Ukraine, my heart began to stir on behalf of the Ukrainians. I can hardly stand to view the news coverage of what they are going through. I applaud their strength and tenacity to fight for their freedom while mourning for the country and its people. It’s enough to cause us all to fear. But as believers, we have been admonished by God to not embrace fear. So I choose to hope with them that this will end quickly and they will maintain their freedom.
The psalmist wrote these words that give me great comfort:
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.Psalm 91:5-6 NKJV
The psalmist didn’t write that we would not witness these things. Nor did he promise that they would never happen around us. But he encourages us to not be afraid of the things that happen during the night. He tells us that bombs, arrows, even bullets on the highway may be a reality, but we are not to take on fear. He said that we would experience world pandemics and a threat of destruction, but we are not to lay hold to fear!
The second thing Paul tells us about fear is that it is a spirit. And since he told us that it’s not from God, it has to be from lies we have embraced or the devil! In 1 John, we are told that fear involves torment. When we allow the spirit of fear to have a dominant role in our lives, we invite torment to come and reside with us! Torment has the power to make us miserable, to cause paralysis to sneak up on us. This is not from God!
David wrote these words:
Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?Psalm 56:3-4 NKJV
That’s key when fear comes around. We must learn to trust in God. There is no getting over fear without trust in God. David said that when he put his trust in God, he was determined to not give in to fear. That has to become our attitude to walk free of fear!
Paul wrote that God did not give us the spirit of fear, but there are some things that God has given us. He has given us a spirit of power! Dunamis power! Why would fear and power be in the same thought in Paul’s mind? I am sure it’s because Paul is telling us that God has given us the power to conquer our fears.
Paul was actually encouraging Timothy in this passage. Paul fondly remembers the time he spent with Timothy. Paul told Timothy that every time he thinks of him, he stops and pray for him. An example that we can all follow. How many times do people come to mind that you haven’t seen or spoken with in a while? That’s probably a good time to stop and pray for them!
Paul reminisces about Timothy’s heritage of faith which he received from his maternal side of the family. Paul rejoices in the gift that Timothy received when he laid his hands upon Timothy and the Holy Spirit flowed through him. Then Paul encouraged, keep that gift flowing in your life. Don’t let fear overtake you or it! That’s not from God, so don’t receive it!
What God did give to Timothy, and to you, and to me, when He gave gifts, was the power to operate in the gift! Dunamis power to break the yoke of fear that would hinder us from operating in the gift, and the same dunamis to operate the gift! Isn’t that wonderful?
I know people whom God has gifted to sing, but they allow fear to keep them on the sidelines of life. The fear of standing in front of a crowd, or the fear of messing up, or not being good enough! Well, if that’s you, it’s time to break free of that spirit and allow God’s power to enable you to operate in your gift!
Then God gave the spirit of love! What a wonderful combination for service!
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.1 Corinthians 13:2 NKJV
Service without love is difficult to appreciate! Those who work in the service industry and work as if they have a love for people and what they are doing, are gifted! And don’t you just love being serviced by them? How about when you enter a sanctuary and someone greets you as if you are their long lost relative? What a welcoming moment they have bestowed on you!
Whatever the gift, Paul is saying to us, God has given us the love that is needed to do the job! I’m a teacher in an elementary school. I’ve been teaching for almost twenty years. Some of my students and their parents have been quite the challenge. But I have never once said that I hated a single one of them. No matter what, I just keep forgiving, teaching, and walking in the love God has given me for them. Do they appreciate it? Sometimes I wonder! But I purpose to demonstrate the love of God, even when I have to repent of my immediate response of hurt or anger. I just keep walking in love!
Lastly, Paul wrote that God has given us a sound mind! Yes! And thank you Jesus! In my profession, I need it! But don’t you need a sound mind? Don’t you need the assurance that God has given you a sound mind?
Well, in this case, in keeping in mind what Paul is talking about, a sound mind refers to a disciplined mind. A person who walks in the knowledge of who they are in Christ, even in their mind. So when fear comes on the attack, you don’t lose your mind! Your mind stays at peace and in agreement with what God has already said about the situation! You resist the spirit of fear, and because you have a sound mind, you don’t give over to your emotions!
There’s so much in this single verse that Paul was writing to Timothy, and vicariously to us! There will always be something going on around us that we can get in fear about. There will always be a new task, step, or endeavor we can walk into, and fear will be hanging around! But when we understand what God has given us, to overcome that fear, it will be powerless to stop us! Wonderful Jesus!