P aul writes his final letter to a young minister in Ephesus named Timothy. Its purpose was to encourage him to continue faithfully in the work of God.
Timothy faced challenges. He argued against false doctrines and faced persecution for preaching the gospel. Apparently–– perhaps due to timidity––Timothy held back some ministry work. Paul admonishes him to fan the flames of the spiritual gifts God gave him, not to be ashamed of the Lord, and to expect sufferings in the proclamation of the Good News: “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).
Paul reminded Timothy that he has been given power to encounter all his enemies. The Holy Spirit is the Power, which Jesus promised would come and fill all believers: “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Also, genuine love and self-discipline inspire courage and bold authority (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:4).
“Basically, fear comes down to a lack of trust in God. Trusting God is a refusal to give in to fear.”
Worse days would come (2 Timothy 3:1–9). But through it all, Paul’s solemn charge to Timothy was to remain faithful to the things he was taught. To stay the course without fear, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1). To study and “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (4:2). Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Devotionally, 2 Timothy 1:7 exhorts us to stand firm by God’s power, exhibiting His love and exercising true Christian character.
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Basically, fear comes down to a lack of trust in God. Trusting God is a refusal to give in to fear. “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:11). Moses Ibn Ezra, a medieval Jewish philosopher said, “Your noblest quality before God is your fear of Him.” Rather than the spirit of fear, we are to have a reverential, fearful respect of the Person of God. For God, through Jesus Christ, saved us and called us to live for Him. The admonition: “Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11).