For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but from where does it come? It begins with our experiences in life. We begin with a childlike faith, but as the disappointments and heartaches come our way, so do our fears. Obviously some fears are healthy, but all too frequently we project our fears upon God and in doing so we create barriers which prevent us from experiencing everything that he has for us. In this passage of Scripture Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage him and us in the faith by reminding us of what God has provided to help us overcome our fear and live in victory?
We can go through times in life when our vision fades and we no longer clearly see our objectives. The vision that at one time burned brightly within us begins to dim, its passion begins to ease, and its heat begins to cool. That is what was apparently happening to Timothy. Paul had sent Timothy to correct problems in the church in Ephesus. Yet when Timothy got there, it was more difficult than he had anticipated. The leadership in the Ephesian church was older than he was, and didn’t respect his leadership. To make matters worse, Timothy probably was by nature shy and timid, so he had a tendency to avoid confrontation. The stress of his ministry assignment was affecting Timothy’s health.
In this one verse we are offered 3 powerful solutions for fear. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to overcome our fear. It is true that God has not given us the spirit of fear, but nevertheless it can be frequent situation that debilitates us and limits our effectiveness in life. The first remedy is power, not physical power or political power, but the power that comes on us through the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8) The power available to us is the same power that brought creation into being, the same power that parted the waters of the Red Sea, the same power that healed the sick and gave hope to the hopeless and the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. This is God given, supernatural, life changing power.
Secondly, God gives us divine love to overcome our fears. It is a love that overwhelms and conquers our fears. “Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:18 (NLT) God supplies us with a vast love that rises above circumstances. By the power and presence of the Holy Spirit we have a constant access to the love of God.
Finally, we are urged to develop self-discipline. Self-discipline is the product of being trained to act a particular way when confronted with a specific danger. Self-discipline results in balance and stability. In the face of difficulties, we can remain levelheaded and calm. Fear may be present, but the one who has self-discipline will perform correctly because they are prepared for the moment. Without self-discipline it will be difficult to remain “level headed” in all that life throws at you without God’s help.
How can we receive the power, love and self-discipline that we need to overcome our fears? By seeking after God, of course. “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4 (NIV)