Summary: A short devotional message about getting control over fear.
January 5, 2007
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God,
2 Tim. 1:7-8 (NIV)
A. God does not give a spirit that makes people timid. Timidity is the fear that something bad will happen if the right thing is done.
1. Timidity is what kept the people of Israel hiding behind the rocks when Goliath challenged their bravest men to take him on.
2. Timidity is what keeps people from rocking the boat when the boat needs to be rocked.
3. Timidity is what keeps the message of good news that Jesus Christ saves stuck in a believer’s throat.
B. Timidity does not give people an excuse for not doing what is right.
1. At least not for the guy who was afraid of his master who entrusted him with a talent to invest.
2. It didn’t get the Israelites off the hook when they were timid in the face of the people of Canaan when the Lord ordered them into the land.
Proposition: The Lord gives believers a spirit that overcomes timidity.
Interrogative: What does Lord give the believer that causes them to overcome the spirit of fear?
Transition: God does not take away a healthy fear, a respect for the dangers that exist. Rather, He gives a spirit that causes the believer to do what is difficult and right.
I. The Spirit of Power Overcomes Fear
A. Fear dissipates when the one who must act realizes that he or she has the power to overcome opposition to what is right.
B. Samson is a Biblical example of how the knowledge of power overcomes timidity. Samson knew that his strength comes from God. He knew that the power that comes from God is not the type that just gets us by, but is overwhelming power to overcome evil. He was just one man, but he could defeat teams of men with his own hands.
C. We live in a day when it is considered socially unacceptable to force our faith upon people. I agree that too many Christians are forcing themselves upon people in order to argue the righteousness of their beliefs. However, there are times when doing the right thing requires someone with a holy backbone.
Transition: Power gives confidence over fear, but love causes one to ignore the fear.
II. The Spirit of Love Overcomes Fear
A. When someone feels love for another person or people, the danger that would ordinarily repel a person from acting no longer paralyzes. That person simply acts without regard for what bad thing might happen.
B. Paul was filled with love for his people, the Jews. Even though he was warned by friends and prophets that he was going to be arrested in Jerusalem if he returned, he went anyway. He just replied to them, "I am who I am."
C. The Believer is motivated by love for people. Why take the risk and reach out to someone who needs Jesus? Because you love them. Why is it important to put yourself at risk to minister to others in church and without? Because you love people. People need the Lord. You have the Lord. Allow yourself to feel love for people and you will overcome timidity in your witness.
transition: Sometimes fear is overcome by shear discipline.
III. The Spirit of Self-discipline Overcomes Fear
A. Self-discipline is the product of being trained to act a certain way when confronted with a specific danger. Fear may be very present, but the one who must act has rehearsed doing the right thing enough that he does not have the ability to act any other way at the moment of danger.
B. David called upon his training in his fathers pasture when he came up against Goliath. While in the field, David would face lions who were threatening the sheep in the flock. Lions are dangerous. Yet, David had learned the discipline required to face danger because danger had to be faced. It was second nature for David to go after Goliath. Was Goliath formidable? Absolutely. Was there a real danger to David present? Yes. But, as David argued for permission to face the enemy, he said that he had learned to face the danger in the fields, and could face the danger in the valley.
C. I am amazed at how the American soldiers face danger in Iraq. Truck convoys are often victim to roadside bombs, yet the convoys keep rolling. Why? They can do it because they have been practicing what to do. The soldier can face danger because he has been practicing facing danger.