2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
What exactly is fear? The online dictionary says fear is “an unpleasant emotion caused be the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” I like the word “belief” in there. Belief means that it may not be supported by any evidence other than the thoughts of the one who is fearful. The believe a thing, so it is that thing that dominates their mind. They believe something might harm them or be dangerous. They believe it and it sends them to a place of unpleasant emotions. They cringe and do everything they can to get away from that feeling. They just don’t like it! Fear can cause us to hide in our rooms, or to shy away from someone or some task, or to try and get someone to fight the fight for us.
Take the school bully for example. This is a person who exists on fear. He does everything he can to antagonize others and put fear in their hearts. He will make fun of them, intimidate them, challenge them, and do anything he can to maintain power over them. He just wants to be the one in charge, and will not take no for an answer. If he is challenged back, he will start to use physical force to get his way. Pushing and shoving at first before it gets into a full-blown fight. Often, the one being bullied will give in to the fear tactics and let him have his way whether it’s giving him the lunch money or letting him have the best swing in the playground. Fear is his weapon of choice.
Our spiritual enemy, the devil, is a bully. Just like that kid on the playground who always got your lunch money, he will do everything he can to put fear in your heart. Only this fear Paul is talking about with Timothy is a little different than the fear of the world. This fear is a loss of the moral gumption that is needed to follow Christ. It is a spirit of timidity and cowardice that makes us back off form our witness, or from sharing our testimony, or from reaching out and praying for others. The devil will do everything he can to keep you from witnessing and telling others of the glorious salvation that comes from Christ alone! He will tell you that you just don’t have the right words, or that you can’t find anyone to listen, or that you don’t have time today to share Christ’s story. He will put obstacles in your way that will scare you from sharing your faith. Obstacles like feelings if ineptitude, inadequacy, unworthy and unwanted. He will tell you you’re not perfect so how can you say Christ has cleaned you up.
This is not the same as the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Without the fear of the Lord we would not know wonderful feeling of hearing His voice and following His way because that wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord. We would not understand His awesome power and His glorious mercy because that comes through the fear of the Lord. We need the fear of the Lord to effectively serve Him. We do not need the kind of fear that makes us afraid to witness. That does not come from God. God gives us other things, better things. He gives us power, love and a sound mind!
You see, this verse is all about witnessing and sharing our faith. It is all about letting other people know the glorious message of Christ crucified and risen again. He does not give us a spirit of being afraid to witness! That comes from the enemy. God gives tools to make us better witnesses, more effective witnesses. These tools are listed here; power, love and a sound mind. So how do these three things help us in our day to day witnessing?
His power enables us to stand boldly and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In myself, I am shy and inward. Look at the disciples. They were all huddled in an upper room waiting for the power. They were afraid and were not doing anything for God. Peter had joined them after He denied Christ three times. Do you think he had any inclination to go out and witness? We see no sign of that in scripture. Jesus had told them to wait until they received power in Acts 1:8. Now in chapter two we see them doing exactly that – waiting. Then the Holy Ghost came into the room and filled them up. The power and authority of the Holy Ghost filled them so full Peter just had to speak. He witnessed to thousands that day because of the power Gpd had placed in him. That same power is available to us! If you have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, just ask God to fill you up and trust Him to do so. He will when you ask this question!
His love compels us to go out and witness. 2 Corinthians 5:14 tells us this. Paul writes that the love of God constrained him, or compelled him. It signifies an urging to tell others of the sacrifice Christ made to give us freedom from sin. This urging is placed inside of each one of us when we experience the love of Christ. It’s like the urging we have when our favorite team wins the championship, or when we get married or have a new baby. We have an urge to tell everyone about it! He loved everyone and He died to save everyone. We have experienced this salvation and now He wants everyone to know about the love He has for us. So, His love compels us to share this love with others. How many people are you telling? Are you showing His love to others around you in small and simple ways?
The third thing He has given us to help us effectively witness is a sound mind. A mind that can rightly divide the word of truth. A mind that can take every though captive to the obedience of Christ. A mind that can help us study to chow ourselves approved unto God. A mind that can keep the message simple and diverse enough to reach everyone. The testimony of our salvation will help us to overcome fear, but it also says volumes to those who don’t believe. We have to be able to share it in our own way, listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to gives us the words we need to say in any given situation. We should not fear witnessing just because we are not good speakers! The men who followed Jesus were simple men, not learned and scholarly. Yet they were given the words to say every time and many came to the Lord. The sound mind within you can be a very effective witness if only you will allow it.
I urge you to stop having fear about witnessing. The power within you is greater than the power that is in the world. The love that is in you is gr3eater than any power this world has. Your mind will for the words when you need them. Give God a chance to make a bold witness out of you. Open your mouth and let His praises go forth!