2 Timothy 1:6-8 (New English Standard Version)
6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love, and self-control. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner.
Here’s some breaking news that’s perhaps not very shocking: we’re going to face fearful things in this life.
As human beings, we have come to accept fear as a part of our daily lives. Making it to work on time, acing the big test, making enough money to make ends meet, and making sure to get enough sleep so we can do it all over again is a part of what seems like a vicious cycle. A cycle of fear, that is.
But there is a big and unavoidable gap between facing fear as a human being and facing fear as a Christ follower. Unfortunately, it is one that is rarely acknowledged.
As Christians, we are commanded by God to avoid falling into the pitfalls of fear. Not that we will be exempt from facing fear or fearful situations, but that we are not to bow to a ‘spirit of timidity.’ Notice that 2 Timothy 1:6-8 specifically commands us to avoid fear, but not fearful situations. We aren’t to run away and hide from the world, or put our heads in the sand to get away from fearful situations. We are told to cast off a spirit, not a situation.
Battling a spirit of fear takes time, and is one of the most difficult things we do on a daily basis. After all, we are battling our own flesh and blood! Wanting to take matters into our own hands, worry and fret about what is to happen, and anxiously await the results is a part of our daily routine. But Christ, in His ultimate power and love, has granted us the ability to break out of our spirits of fear.
In fact, one of the most beautiful passages about breaking the spirit of fear is found in Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV):
“‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
God wants you to feel free from your spirit of fear! After all, how can fear bind us if it is a part of this mortal world, a world that He Himself made? Our God is so much bigger than any earthly fears, even the ones that seem to blot out all aspects of our daily life.
The bottom line? God has not given us His spirit of power and His Book of Life for us to be fearful of what comes next. Friends, we were given a spirit of power, love, and self control! Our God loves us deeply, and understands the fear and anxiety we experience in this life. But fear not! Our God has overcome the very world (John 6:33 NIV).
What are some ways this week that you can go about casting off the mortal spirit of timidity? What would a spirit of power, love, and self control do for your relationship with God? How could this change the way you understand yourself and others? Trusting God to guide our steps and light our path is an incredibly freeing feeling. Imagine how submitting to a spirit of power could revolutionize your spiritual walk!
Romans 8:15 (Berean Study Bible)
15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, "Abba! Father!
John 14:27 (Berean Study Bible)
27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.