I have been thinking lately about fear. It seems to be all around- everywhere I look, I see it, and even at times it rises, in me. And seeing all this fearfulness makes me sad. Sad because I know it isn’t the way our heavenly father wanted this world to be. In 2 Timothy 1:7, Paul writes these important words to Timothy, For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
What great words! Second Timothy 1:7 tells us we can put a big red “X” through the spirit of fear in our lives and replace it with power, love, and a sound mind. According to Vine’s, the word fear here means cowardice or timidity and is never used positively. So, cowardice can go because God never gives that! But don’t just strike out fear; now go and live your life, using your spiritual gifts, knowing what God has given you is the power to serve, love to embrace a dark world, and a calm and self-controlled mind. A calm and self-controlled mind in this world would most definitely stand out, especially when served up with love and courageous boldness.
Recently, a dear friend of ours came home from a morning outing to find a stranger’s car in her driveway. Well, the car wasn’t exactly in the driveway; the driver had pulled the vehicle around the side of the house. The location of the car seemed to be quite unusual. My friend, being quite wise, drove on by and then called her husband and the police. Later, she came to find out the person had driven into the driveway a bit too far and had gotten stuck, very stuck, in fact, in the mud. The only way out was to call a tow truck. Of course, the driver had a story to tell, but the truth remained apparent; her intentions were bad. What once had looked like a fool-proof plan to this would-be-thief quickly became a deep and unforgiving hole of mud. The driver had been up to no good. The police rap sheet proved that! The driver’s evil intention had dragged her car down literally into the mud.
Now, there are a whole bunch of lessons we can learn from this little account. Maybe we could realize that sin will always find us out. Or perhaps we can discover that sin is quite expensive; I mean, the would-be-thief did have to call a tow truck to get her car unstuck. Both of these would be suitable lessons to acquire! But the lesson I want us to see today isn’t so much a lesson for the would-be-thief but is a lesson we can glean from my friend’s reaction to this little encounter with a would-be thief.
After hearing about this incident, I texted my sweet friend, hoping to give her a little courage. I simply said, “I am praying for peace and rest for you tonight.” I desired to bolster faith in her, to help her to reject the fear that can so easily come in these situations. But then I received her reply, “it was unsettling today. I don’t handle these situations very well, and it takes me a bit to recover. I’m grateful that we are safe and sound though, and we know the Lord as a Sovereign provider and protector. I will be soaking my mind with that truth tonight- that’s for sure!!” My friend was already on it. She knew that speaking God’s truth to herself was the way to go. She understood that FEAR wanted to suck her in, just like the mud sucked in the would-be thief’s vehicle, but God offered her peace. So, my friend canceled the fear welling up inside her. She replaced it with God’s word, which gave her courage and a calm spirit.
“Fear does this. Fear corrodes our confidence in God’s goodness. We begin to wonder if love lives in heaven.”Max Lucado
I have heard it said that there are 365 “fear not’s” in the Scripture, one for every day of the year. Although this would be nice, it isn’t true. But many verses tell us not to fear, and many more remind us of God’s watch care.
Here are just a few to meditate on when fear comes calling:
“So don’t be afraid. You are worth much more than many sparrows.” (Mt. 10:31 NCV)
“Take courage, son, your sins are forgiven.” (Matthew 9:2 NASB)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” Psalm 46:1-3
“For I, the LORD your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:3
“Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.” Psalm 27:3
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” Luke 14:27
“Don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough…” (Mathew 6:25)
“It’s all right. I am here! Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27 NCV)
“Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me…. I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3 NLT)
“He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day.” Psalm 91:4-5
Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” (Matthew 17:8 NKJV)
So today, when the spirit of fear rears its ugly head, remember these powerful words from 2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.