That Little Four-Letter Word

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

Of the three words translated “fear” in the New Testament, this one is always used in a negative connotation as timidity, fearfulness, or cowardice.

The Spirit of God living in the believer does not make him or her timid, afraid, or cowardly. Rather the His Spirit gives power, love, and self-control.

This command is sandwiched between two other imperatives. The older Paul encourages the younger Timothy “to fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Tim. 1:6) and “do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord … but share in the suffering for the gospel…” (2 Tim. 1:8).

Each believer is gifted. Fan the flame of your giftedness! So stop complaining that you can’t do something someone else can do. Do what you are gifted to do. Use the gift you do have.

And what are you to use that gift to do? Share your testimony of faith in Jesus Christ who forgave you and has given you eternal life! Willingly enter into the suffering that will inevitably come from sharing the gospel. It will cost you something to be open about your faith in Christ, so don’t be timid, afraid, or cowardly.

Believers have three recourses to obliterate this fear:

  1. God’s power resides in you. This word is dunames from which the word dynamite derives. You have a spiritual power that is a billion times greater than any political, cultural, or muscular power.
  2. God’s love lives in you. The word agape, a love that exceeds romance or friendship, is characterized by self-sacrifice. Inside you, you have the love with which God loves you. This love, God’s love, sacrificed His only begotten Son on the cross for you. Love God and others with this love.
  3. God’s thermostat is in you. This word sophronismos is translated sound-mindedness, moderation, and self-control. You have a spiritual thermostat to gauge what is appropriate in each circumstance you use your gift to share your testimony of faith in Jesus.

Fear paralyzes. The Spirit sets us free! Three overcoming resources reside in the believer. Each resource alone is exponentially greater than fear.

So focus on this tremendous trio, God’s power, love, and self-control, rather than, well, that little four-letter word we need not even mention again.

“For God gave us a spirit not of —- but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

Thank-you Father for Your power that raises the dead, Your love that gave us Your Son, and Your moderation that gives us wisdom.















Published by

Pastor Denny

Pastor, Husband, Father, PawPa

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