Faith Against Fears

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:6-10, NIV)

This is a message of faith and hope in fearful times. The spirit of fear may find a place in our hearts and minds for many reasons. The text says that God “gave us” a different Spirit. Paul’s not talking about “add-ons” to our faith that we earn—some people have them, others just live in fear. It doesn’t work like that. The Spirit already dwells in a believer—past tense, completed action [1] . Paul understands how the Spirit of God works in a Christian. He’s saying when the spirit of fear haunts you, think about who you are in Christ. COVID-19 could give you any number of reasonable reasons to fear, since fear is a natural response, humanly speaking. But what is the natural response of God’s Spirit within us?

The Spirit of God within reminds us of God’s power—who do you think is really in control of your life and this world? Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothes” (Luke 12:22–23).

The Spirit thinks of love—God is not malevolent; He is love. And by His power, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ. When Jesus died for you, He paid a very high price for you. You are God’s property and God cares about what happens to you.

Then a “sound mind”, is a combination of the Greek word for “safe” (transliterated as “sos”), “and the Greek word for “mind” (transliterated as “phren”; hence, “sosphren” or “safe-thinking”. The word denotes good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand and make right decisions. It includes the qualities of self-control and self-discipline.

We do not come to faith to then be orphaned by God. Paul wrote these words to encourage us. And he knows what he’s talking about. He wrote this letter to Timothy shortly before his martyrdom. As you go through challenging situations in life, are you filled with the spirit of fear? Or with the Spirit of God? God’s Word encourages us to be filled with the Spirit.

Christ himself said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. 17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. 18 No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you” (John 14:16-18, NLT)