II TIMOTHY 1:6-7: “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Am I courageous in my faith? Is my life filled with forwarding momentum in pursuing the things of God or do I find myself shrinking back from them? Am I focused more on my limitations than I am on God’s grace and calling?
Timothy was a very young pastor. Many believe he might have been as young as 19 years old when he began his ministry. Paul was Timothy’s spiritual father and had a very powerful impact on Timothy’s life. The setting of Paul’s second letter to Timothy is Paul’s second imprisonment in Rome, shortly before his death. In this letter Paul is trying to remind Timothy of his faith, calling, and God’s promises to Timothy. Paul, his spiritual father, and mentor would soon be gone.
We all know that we need to trust in the Lord in every area of our life. This is easier when we have strong believers who support us and encourage us. Yet, it is not so easy when we find ourselves on our own. It is in these times that our faith is truly tested. How would Timothy do when Paul was no longer there to encourage him? How would Timothy do when he was thrust into the position where he was no longer following Paul but now stood in Paul’s shoes leading others?
Life is a cycle. We start as small infants who are fully dependent upon our parents. As we grow we become more and more independent but we still rely on our parents for guidance and strength. Then the day arrives when we change roles. No longer are our parents taking care of us and guiding us. We now are taking care of our parents. And, finally one day, our parents are gone and we stand in their place. We witness the cycle of life vividly as we see our children beginning to take care of us.
This cycle is also true in our spiritual lives. When we become a new Christian we are taught and nurtured by others. We depend on them for counsel, prayer, and strength. When we are weak we run to them. Then as we grow we find ourselves changing places. It is like a relay race where there is a handing of the baton for the next leg of the race. As we receive the baton we are faced with the challenge – do I run the race and prepare to hand it to the next person or am I stopped in my tracks out of fear?
Paul was handing the baton to young Timothy. He reminded Timothy of his calling and the gifts he had received through the laying on of hands. He calls Timothy to take the baton and run the race that is before him. And, Paul reminds Timothy,
- “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
This is a powerful verse to hide in our hearts. It speaks to all of us during the transitions of life that we face. Each stage of life and ministry is filled with new challenges. Each time we receive a new baton for the next leg of our race we face the fear of the unknown and insecurity about the challenges that we will face. Yet, each time we are reminded of these important truths.
- We are not controlled by fear and timidity. The power of God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
- Love overcomes all fear. The love we have received is not merely an emotion, although it can be felt. The love we have received is the very nature of God living within us. It is His perfect love that casts out all fear!
- This love produces boldness in our life. We are compelled by His love to move forward in our life. God demonstrated His love to us when He sent His Son to die for us. This same love now empowers us to pick up our cross and follow Jesus in sincere obedience and service.
- The power of His love working in our life produces a sound mind. The Greek word used here connotes moderation or balance. Our lives are not blown to and fro by every change in our life. There is a steadiness to our faith. We have our hope anchored to the blessed hope of our Lord Jesus Christ. This enables us to avoid the highs and lows of life and to walk in the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Timothy needed to be reminded of these truths and so do I. We never arrive in life. Each stage of life and ministry is in flux of constant change. Each stage requires courage. And, courage requires faith. We can walk in faith through all the twists, turns, and changes of life knowing that,
- “…God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Lord, this morning, help me to receive these words of encouragement and hope. Let me cast off all fear and be filled with Your power, love, and peace. Help me to continue to run the race that is set before me and to encourage others along the way.
In Jesus’ Name!