Overcoming Fear

2 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. 7For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
– As Christians, we’re called to live lives that are distinctly different from the world and one of the ways we can demonstrate that distinction is by overcoming the fear that seems to characterize the lives of so many today.
– In v. 6, Paul tells Timothy to “stir up” the gift of God which was in him. “Stir up” is literally, “fan into flame” and pictures the act of sticking a poker into a fire to knock the ashes off the coals and re-awaken the flames. Time and circumstances had conspired to cool Timothy’s zeal. His devotion was less hot, less fervent than before. How often we Christians struggle with that very same thing.
– In Verse 7 the spirit that is being referred to is the Holy Spirit and this Spirit does not bring fear, on the contrary – the Spirit of God brings power, love, and a sound mind. This word for “fear” (deilia) in v. 7 is used only here in the Bible, it means cowardice; it’s the kind of fear that hinders a person from doing what’s right for fear of personal harm; it’s a weak kind of shamefulness that makes one ignore his/her duty.
– “Deilia” is the perfect word for Paul to use in light of the context. Let me jump to v. 8 to put this into context,
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God
– Paul sends Timothy this strong exhortation because he knows it’s his natural inclination to become fearful in the face of difficulties. But Paul wants to remind Timothy that being a Christian means moving out of the natural into the supernatural. Sure it’s natural for Timothy to be afraid but now he’s a new creature in Christ and he needs to appropriate who and what he really is.
– The moment he was born again, he received a gift from God – the Holy Spirit who came to set up permanent residence within him, and THAT is what Timothy is to stir up – the new person he really was IN CHRIST!
– Paul is telling Timothy to get the right perspective – no matter what the world throws at him he has resources so far above and beyond the challenges of this world that they pale in comparison.
– Rather than imparting a cowardly fear, the Holy Spirit who indwells Timothy provides power ( it’s the Greek word “dunamis” from which we get our word dynamic and dynamite) it speaks of the kind of power that’s able to do things in such a way that it’s not exhausted or used up.
– Timothy faced a fear that would hinder his witness for fear of bearing shame for the sake of Christ. Paul says such cowardice is not of God – rather, boldness to testify of Jesus is the Spirit’s work.
– Why do we live so timidly – what are we afraid of? Death? Christians never die – they only go home. Are we afraid of rejection? – We are accepted in the beloved! Are we afraid of being misunderstood and made fun of? – God knows us and will vindicate us in the Last Day when He puts a royal robe on our shoulders and a crown of victory on our heads.
– If we really grasped the greatness of God’s love, we would never be fearful again. In 1 John 4:18, John writes “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”
 Being fearful is a sign that we are not resting in faith in the love and power of God.
– The Spirit is also One who brings us a sound mind, the word literally means to be sober, but as Paul uses it here it speaks of the kind of mind that isn’t tossed about and filled with the confusion fear produces. Fear attacks the mind and conjures up all kinds of confusing thoughts. The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of Truth, dispels the shadows fear plays on the walls of our minds. He produces in us a mind that sees things as they really are and then empowers us to live within that reality. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth who shows us what it real and enables us to live within that reality.
– Friends, here is what is real . . .
– Jesus Christ is Lord over all!
– In His death He defeated sin and in His resurrection He conquered death!
– There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God – nothing.
– There is no foe Jesus hasn’t already beaten and no battle he hasn’t already won.
– There is no challenge, obstacle, trouble, trial, or pain than can exhaust His power.
– That’s reality – our reality and it’s the way we ought to live!
– You and I don’t need to read any more books or attend any more conferences in order to be better Christians and live more victorious lives.
All we need to do is be what in fact we already are!
– Remember what Paul said to Timothy – God has already given us the Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. All of this is already ours – we simply need to turn away from our own natural inclinations to the new person we are in Christ.
– We need to fan into flame the work of the Spirit in our lives. The way we do this is by asking the Lord to open our eyes to who and what we really are in Christ. Romans 8:12-16 states “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors”not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit THAT WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD.
– Next time you are tempted to be timid, lustful, angry, whatever your challenge is, remember who you really are – and that that temptation, that bondage, is a mark of what you used to be, not who you now are.
Adapted from a study by Pastor Lance Ralston of Calvary Chapel of Oxnard.

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