For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)
This first blog post is for me. This is me encouraging myself to do what I need to do. As much as I don’t want to admit it, there have been times that fear has stopped me from doing what I knew that I should. I’ve hesitated while I wondered if I would be successful. I’ve sought second and third and fourth opinions as a subconscious delay tactic. There have been times that I’ve just outright refused to do something out of fear. I’m willing to bet that you have experienced the same thing. Well, I’m trying to overcome my fears and exercise the courage to step out. This blog is a step. And true to my stated purpose, I have to turn to the Word of God for instruction on overcoming fear.
Paul’s words to his protégé Timothy is the perfect place to turn. Timothy was a young man who had gained Paul’s trust because of his unique passion and devotion. It is believed that Paul wrote his 2nd letter to Timothy from prison the year before Paul died. Apparently, Timothy was somewhat sickly and perhaps a bit timid at times. So Paul begins by encouraging him to “stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” (2 Timothy 1:6) He is encouraging his apprentice to not allow the hardships and difficulty of their calling to stop him. And in chapter 1 verse 7, he gets directly to the point when he says, “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” Thankfully though, Paul goes on to tell him the key to overcoming fear. He declares that God has given him (and us) 3 things to combat fear – or better yet, that over-ride fear: Power, Love, and a Sound Mind.
Power is the most direct antidote to fear. The Word of God is reminding us that we have the ability to do whatever God calls us to do. As I’ve said, fear sometimes paralyzes us from doing what we know we should do. We fear failure, or ridicule, or rejection. But since God has given us the power to do what he calls us to do, we must forge ahead. Also, God has given us love. There are 2 ways that love impacts fear. When we recognize that God loves us, we know that whatever he calls us to do will be best for us. He doesn’t ask us to do something that will end in failure. Additionally, love provides motivation for us to do what God calls us to do – our love for God as well as our love for others. Allowing fear to stop us would mean that those who are to benefit from our obedience would miss out. And finally, God has given us a sound mind or sound judgment. There are always obstacles and difficulties to deal with when we are doing anything worthwhile. But we can handle it. We will not fall apart or lose our grip. When something doesn’t go right, we will think of solutions. When something unexpected happens, we will adapt. God has given us enough sense to know what to do.
So although fear is common, we do not have to give in to it. We do not have to allow fear to stop us. We have the power to do what we must, love to motivate us to do it, and a sound mind to handle anything that gets in our way.