For the past couple of days I have been doing a lot of self evaluation. As a result I have seen a lot of things about myself that in some ways I already knew but never really accepted as truth. I am timid. I said it, there you go, I am timid. Confidence has been something that I struggle with for most of my life. Often times the people who I love the most have told me that I am my own worst critic. Part of the reason why I never finish things is because of my fear. Fear of what? I guess there are many reasons why I am afraid, but those are actually not that important. What is important is the realization that I am fearful and what God has said in light of this.
I can remember a conversation that I had one day with a professor of mine in Bible College. I was sitting in his office and having a conversation, kind of pouring my heart out and revealing some of my reservations and fears. He said something that day that I heard, but it didn’t take until tonight. “Fear doesn’t come from God.” Basically he told me not to accept those fears because God doesn’t give us fear, especially a fear that is paralyzing us from doing the ministry He has called us to do.
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
On my way home from work this evening, this verse was ringing in my ear. God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear! I think about all of the things that I don’t do because of fear of one thing or another. When those feelings arise I cower behind my inabilities forgetting the truth that the fear is not from God. Paul writes to Timothy encouraging him to continue with passion using the gifts and working in the way that God has called him to. He reminds him here in verse 7 that the Spirit who lives in him (Timothy) does not facilitate fear but power, love, and self-discipline. This makes me think about what Timothy was going through. Did he suffer from some fears? Did Paul know that this was something he struggled with and in his final days write a letter to encourage him by letting him know, or reminding him that God did not give him those fears, but the power to do the things He has called Timothy to?
He also adds “love and self-discipline”to the list. Does Timothy also have problems with self-discipline? What about loving those who are so difficult to love? This guy Timothy sounds a lot like me! He has someone here who is encouraging him to “fan into flame the gift of God, which is you through the laying on of my hands.” This is a letter that I needed, the one telling me to take the gifts given by God through the Holy Spirit who lives in me and not be afraid to passionately preach God’s word which is what I was sure I was called to before. What is there to fear? Knowing that God has equipped me with power, love, and self-discipline shows me that my fears are nothing more than a lie from the enemy who is trying to cripple me and keep me from running the race God has placed me in.
What Paul isn’t doing is telling Timothy not to worry because he has these natural talents that have been with him all of his life and he is capable to work hard and get where he wants. No, Paul is telling him that it is God who has gifted him and that He has not only gifted him but given him the power to use those gifts. He has already done it, not pray for the power, He has already given it to you. In Timothy, in me, in you lies the power of the living God as long as you are a follower of Jesus to do what He has called you to do. What is there to fear?
Maybe your like me, maybe you find yourself paralyzed by fear, or maybe even an inability to love others, or perhaps struggle with self discipline. The good news is that if you feel this way and you are a follower of Jesus Christ then you too have already been given these things and need not worry only trust in the promises of God. You too have the power. You have the love of God and the self-discipline and are not subject to timidity and limitations of this world. God is in you, and He has a habit of doing awesome things through regular people. So stand in confidence, put aside all cowardice and fan into flame the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that you too can face any adversary, and suffering, and any opportunity to spread the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.