Jesus Christ was the Son of God from all eternity, but it is clear that his ministry and life was empowered by the Holy Spirit (Luke 3:22). The Holy Spirit led him, tested him, and empowered him. When he went into the wilderness to do battle with Satan, he went “full of the Spirit” (Luke 4:1). If Christ needed and relied on the Holy Spirit in his reliance on his Father, then ask yourselves, just how much more did his disciples rely on the Holy Spirit? He told them that they must wait for power to come upon them before setting off on his mission (Luke 24:49).
One sure and certain test of what spirit is working in us is the result that it has upon our hearts and our souls. Do we feel timid, fearful or do we feel the joy and strength of the Lord (Nehemiah 8:11)? Do we feel hate and indifference to God and others, or do we feel love? Do we feel out of control, led around by the lusts of the flesh (Philippians 3:19), or do we experience self-discipline? God did not leave us on our own, but gave us his powerful Spirit, so often underestimated and unappreciated and under taught, if even taught at all, by we, God’s people.
2 Timothy 1:1-7 The Message
1 1-2 I, Paul, am on special assignment for Christ, carrying out God’s plan laid out in the Message of Life by Jesus. I write this to you, Timothy, the son I love so much. All the best from our God and Christ be yours!
To Be Bold with God’s Gifts
3-4 Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.
5-7 That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
This passage and these verses are extraordinarily powerful and empowering because within them God tells us that we do not have to be shy about glorifying God, Exalting Christ, or expressing, living, loving or being afraid of our faith.
Did you catch that, or did it fly right past you?
Let me say it again, God, through the Apostle Paul, tells us that you and I do not ever have to be the least bit shy or even the least bit afraid of living in and into our faith in the name of God, His Son, our Savior Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
But what about in time of sudden or chronic or deadly sickness? What about at or approaching the point of death? What about that wavering economy? What about my keeping my job or retiring? What about my being able to maintain my house? What about supporting my family, loving my neighbors, community?
What about the current socio-cultural political climate in our country and in your own country? The list could go literally on and on ad infinitum because there is no limit to the wholly unique situations that’ll tempt us to be afraid.
While all of these things are undeniably important, none of these situations mentioned or not mentioned is cause for the Christian to fear or to shy away from his family or his or their faiths. Let’s discover together why this is true.
Not a Spirit of Fear
First, notice that God does not take credit for the spirit of fear.
“Spirit of fear” speaks of fearfulness and timidity.
It is cowardice in the face of hostility.
In Timothy’s case it was the fear of an unknown future, carrying on in ministry and mission with a new growing and maturing orthodoxy that did not include the brilliant guidance of his mentor and teacher Paul helping and guiding him.
Paul wrote this letter to Timothy shortly before he was executed in Rome by the Emperor Nero for advocating, preaching of the necessity of faith in Jesus Christ.
Timothy, no doubt, was incredibly fearful of losing his father in the faith, Paul.
He was afraid of ending up in a prison similar to Paul and perhaps he was afraid of receiving the same immediate, sudden, sentence of death as Paul received.
Timothy felt as if he had too much to fear and too little maturity to grow out of it and to lead and guide the new and growing and maturing Church he pastored.
Paul writes to Timothy, speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), to tell him the fear he is experiencing is not any spiritual gift from God therefore it must be rigorously, vigorously challenged, prayed through, using God’s Holy Scriptures.
Not a Spirit of Fear but instead an Inspired Spirit of Power and Empowerment.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:5).
One characteristic of the Holy Spirit is power.
This power is mighty and strong, and it is irresistible and forever available.
From the very beginning, the Holy Spirit was powerful at the moment of Creation as He “was hovering over the face of many waters” (Genesis 1:2).
It was “by the Spirit of God that [Jesus] cast out demons” (Matthew 12:28).
It was by the Spirit of God overshadowing Mary that she was able to conceive Jesus without ever knowing a man (Luke 1:35).
It was the Spirit of God that rushed upon the timid, fearful disciples and then transformed them into bold apostles that very first moment of the Pentecost.
Peter, for example, went from being fearful and refusing to acknowledge Christ in the presence of a servant girl in a courtyard to being bold and powerful before the Jewish religious leaders as he resoundingly, soberly proclaimed, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36).
The Holy Spirit brings God’s power, passion and purpose not shyness nor fear.
Not a Spirit of Fear and Shyness but a Spirit of Unconditional Unwavering Love
God has not given us a spirit of timidity or fear, but the power of the Holy Spirit.
Another characteristic of the Holy Spirit is unconditional and unwavering love.
Jesus said in John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
This point is very important, and 1 John 4:13-21 explains it perfectly:
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So, we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also, we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Our hearts and our souls do not need to have any degree or measure of fear that God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit does not love us in more ways we can ever hope to define or imagine or comprehend. (John 3:16 – 17)
The Holy Spirit, who is given to us, gives us certainty and confidence (not fear) in this world because He gives us His assurance, His 100% confidence in the Day of Judgment which is to come. This perfect love of God casts out all fear because “there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Not the Spirit of Fear and Shyness but the Spirit of Sound Mind & Self-Control
God has not given us a spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit.
The last characteristic of the Holy Spirit mentioned here is Self-Control (or more easily understood as a Sound and Disciplined mind).
The Spirit of God gives power and love and also brings discipline, self-control by transforming you to become more like Christ. (Romans 12 whole chapter)
Romans 8:29 tells us that those who are foreknown by God are “predestined to be conformed into the image of His Son.”
The Holy Spirit works in us to preserve us daily and help us to live a life that is pleasing to God.
We now read in the words of St. Jude 1:24, “to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.”
We are not to be shy nor be enveloped by being afraid, but we are to work boldly and confidently knowing that if we are united with Christ “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) who can never be separated from the Love of God (John 10:27-30, Romans 8:38-39)
“He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
How about a contemporary application of this passage from 2 Timothy? ….
I have heard it repeatedly preached and taught that fear is
“Our failure to realize what God has given us, and is giving us, in giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Let’s be a wee bit more intentional in these coming days, weeks and months ahead in refusing to be afraid and having and living into and out of our faith.
Second Timothy 1:1–7 encourages Timothy to be brave in the face of hardships. Paul is reminding Timothy that he is being prayed for, and that he comes from a family of strong faith. Paul also reassures Timothy that they are both in service of the same God, who gave them a spirit of ”power and love and self-control.”
Timothy, like us all… need to be continuously, continually, reminded that we have the permanently, indwelling Holy Spirit of God, who has gifted us with Spiritual Gifts of God, and has empowered us with all that we need for life and godliness, no matter how difficult or dangerous life in this world may become.
We each have it within us to make a difference and be and become a difference!
God already knows what that difference is and will become when we move forth.
God, the Father, knows exactly what and who is holding us back!
God the Son knows exactly what and who is holding us back!
God the Holy Spirit knows exactly what and who is holding us back!
Do we know or even want to minimally know who or what is holding us back?
Dare any one of us too afraid to pray unto God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Psalm 139:23-24 The Message
23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
then guide me on the road to eternal life.
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Faithful Father, thank you that you are the resurrection and the life, death holds no power over you. The power that you used to conquer death now lives in me. Use your miracle-working power to bring a breakthrough in my life. May I truly and genuinely know your all-conquering power, today, Lord. Hear my prayer. You have loved me, and you have freed me from my sins by your blood. To you be glory and power forever and ever. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.