Summary: We all deal with fear on some level. We must take on fear directly in the name of Jesus. Based on 2 Tim. 1:5-7. No more cowering to fear.

I love going to Summersville Lake. One of the highlights of the lake is all of the rocky ledges that you can climb up on and then jump into the water. The two or three footers are pretty easy. The eight footers will give you a pause before you take the leap. But it was when several of us climbed up to the waterfall that fear really kicked in.

If you’ve ever been to the lake you know that there is a little cold with a small waterfall. Beautiful. You can take a little hike and actually get to that waterfall. Now that you are there you are looking 40 feet down at the water. It might as well be 80 feet.

That is when fear kicks in. Your body begins to rebel. Your mind starts fantasizing that jumping from that distance would end in disaster. You start thinking about slipping, hitting your head, a belly flop, hitting something in the water, going unconscious, going so deep into the water that some sea monster grabs you by the ankles…

Fear just makes its home right in your gut. Your legs go weak, your heart pounds, your stomach is upset, your palms are clammy. Even though you are trying to rationally think your way through this there is an entirely different dynamic going on inside of your body. Finally, you just have to make the jump. And once you’ve done it once… You will do it again.

That kind of fear is just a moment in time. It’s actually a good type of fear to persuade you to not be foolish. But there are some people who fear is not just a moment in time, it has become a lifestyle. They are living from moment to moment fearing everything. Fear, being afraid, has taken up residence inside of their gut and they can never escape it.

Let me introduce you to a Bible character named Timothy. Timothy was a young man who was being mentored by Paul. Paul had so much confidence in him that he sent him to a city called Ephesus to pastor a church that was facing a lot of difficulty. But it seems that Timothy may have been faltering a little. When Paul writes this letter to Timothy that we will read, Timothy seem to be scared. Why?

- For one, his mentor Paul had been arrested and was now in jail. Paul was a rock in his life and now he was unavailable.

- And it seems that Timothy, being young, the Christians in this church were just not responding to his authority. In other words, some of the elders of the church really didn’t respect him.

- And then there was the problem with false teachers.

- And then there was the suffering.

So Paul writes Timothy a couple of letters and in the second one listen to what Paul says;

2 Timothy 1:5 I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

8 So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News.

I want to zoom in on verse 7; For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Paul talks about a spirit of fear. Not a brief moment of fear, not being scared about something specific, but a spirit of fear. A spirit of being afraid.

Fear is probably one of the most shared emotions that we have in this building today. We live a lot of our life with this sense of uneasiness, that something could happen, the things are outside of our control and we don’t like it. Fear is this gut feeling that something bad is about to happen, we are in danger, there is a threat somewhere and we’re scared.

Just scroll through Facebook and look at some of these things that I find every day… Pictures “This makes you feel like you better do something!”

- Were scared of the Chinese, the Koreans, ISIS, socialism, and that will never get our student loans paid off.

- were scared that the stock market is dropping and when we ought to pull out of it

- were scared of drugs

- were scared of crime

- were scared of climate change

- were scared of the Democrats / Republicans will take over

- were scared that we might have to go to a local hospital

- were scared to open the email

- were scared that our plants might shut down

- were scared because we don’t know who to listen to

- were scared of small spaces

- were scared of local schools

- were scared that our kid won’t make the team

- were scared of clowns, spiders, and zombies

- were scared that were going to run out of money

- were scared that we might end up alone

- were scared that our kids will move away

- were scared that our kids will move back!

- Were afraid of the test we have to take tomorrow.

- Were afraid of not getting into college.

- Were afraid that we married the wrong person.

There are a host of documentaries that capitalize on fear. Whether it’s climate change, the trilateral commission, the Middle East, or some political conspiracy - the goal of these things is to scare the bejeebies out of you. Yes… You have some of them in you!

A spirit of fear is like a constant companion living inside of our gut that is always whispering and talking and communicating the what if’s, the what could be worse, the what now, that life is out of control. The spirit of fear is that negative, creepy darkness of the enemies voice which is constantly testifying that God is a failure, that the worst is about to happen.

Paul calls it a “spirit of fear.” You know that the Holy Spirit that Jesus said he wanted to baptize you with and fill you with – do you know all the things the Holy Spirit wants to do in your life?

The Holy Spirit wants to lead you,

guide you,

pour out God’s love on you,

make Jesus is real to you as he was to the disciples…

The Holy Spirit convinces us of our sin,

but also have the solution to sin in Jesus,

and also that Satan is judged and is on the losing end of everything.

The Holy Spirit wants to shape you to look like Jesus, transform you,

and to communicate the deep things of God to your soul, and even to give you special power that will lift Jesus up before others. The Holy Spirit wants to be your constant companion. Well, unfortunately, the spirit of fear undermines and works against everything that the Holy Spirit is doing. The spirit of fear will lead us, spirit of fear will speak to us, the spirit of fear will cripple us, undermine the promises of god, and make us think God is weak. The SPF will transform you into a shivering mess.

The spirit of fear is what you feel when there is a message on your phone telling you to call the doctor’s office because there is something about your test. And now you will have no rest, no peace and in fact you will talk yourself into cancer and death before the day is through.

Recently I was challenged to try to identify some of my fears, some of those things that just lay in my gut…

- I’m afraid the bottom might drop out of everything that I’ve done and that you’re going to figure out “he’s not really that great” and you’re going to leave.

- And if you leave I’m afraid I’ll never find another job.

- And I fear that no one is really committed, deeply committed.

- I fear that the money will dry up, the economy will collapse, and will be left with a huge debt.

- I fear that I am making strategic mistakes.

- I fear that my kids will never marry or that they will divorce, that they will have kids or that they won’t have kids… It’s a lose lose when you fear.

- I fear Nancy’s health, I fear my health.

- I’m afraid I might get sued.

- I’m afraid that I’m inadequate, that I’ll be ignored, that I’ve wasted my life.

- I’m afraid that I can’t make the changes that I want to make.

- I’m afraid of the changing culture and being left behind.

- I fear that they’ll say something bad about me.

- I fear failure.

- I fear missing God’s will.

- I fear that my grandkids will forget me.

- I fear that by the time I want to sell my house it won’t be worth anything.

- I fear getting fat.

- I fear burning out.

The stuff just lays in the bottom of our gut, eating away at us, speaking to us, seeking to take control of our lives. And I don’t think I’m any different than you.

Paul identifies what he calls “the spirit of fear” but he also identifies a resolution to it.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

God has given you the spirit of power. God has given you a spirit of love. God has given you spirit of self-control. These ought to lay in you r gut…


For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

what does it mean that God has given us a spirit of power in order to combat fear? Part of what is at the heart of fear is a sense that we have lost control and we don’t have the resources or the ability to get everything under control. Power, as used here, means that we can live life with a sense of understanding that we have a God who can do what no one else can do… And we have a God that there is nothing too hard for him to do.

The power of God means that God lacks nothing, he needs nothing, and he depends on nothing. That when he moves it is overwhelming, overpowering and irresistible and final.

Listen to scripture…

Eph. 1:19 …that you may know…what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Don’t you want to live in the reality and in the spirit of that verse? Knowing that there is an immeasurable greatness of power toward us who believe? That the resurrection of Jesus from the dead – which defied all odds,

defied all governments,

defied all man’s plans,

defied all nature and natural things,

defied all of Satan’s plans – that greatness of power is working on your behalf. The exalted Jesus is putting your greatest fears under his feet. Your fear don’t rule…Jesus does!

This is what we call living from victory, not for victory. This is settled.

Living with a spirit of power means that you know that there something else happening here. It means that what you think you see happening is and all that is happening. It means that behind-the-scenes you have a heavenly father who will ultimately do more than you think is being done.


For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

There is a spirit of love that combats fear.

I’m sure that my parents sheltered me from the realities of life but I remember having no fears as a child. I didn’t fear divorce. I didn’t fear not eating. I didn’t fear not having my needs met. I didn’t fear not being cared for. Those kinds of burdens were never placed on my life.

I always had a home. Where I belonged, safe, loved, warm, made sense and protected.

And if my parents could do that for me in their imperfect condition, and if you can do that for your kids, how much more does God want us to live in the security of his love?

Again… Listen to scripture…

Ephesians 3:17 Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

1 John 4:18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

If I understand what is being written in these two scriptures it’s this; that the love of God goes all the way back, goes all the way to the future, goes to deeper depths than I could ever know and he wraps his arms around everything in my life and if I could just get it, and I could just understand it a little, then all of my regrets, all of my anxieties, all of my worries, and all of my fear would be violently expelled from my life. I would be absolutely free. I would be absolutely secure. I would be at rest.

I would feel at home.

I admit, it’s hard for me to believe that my father in heaven, that Jesus would so unabashedly – recklessly - love me like this. It doesn’t make sense. What makes sense to me is to be a conditional servant – do what he asks and it will be okay.

The Bible uses the word to describe this loving relationship; the word “covenant.” Maybe I can best describe it as my relationship is apparent to my children. When my children came into this world I made a commitment to them in my commitment really didn’t depend upon me getting much from them. I mean, they were kids, what could they give me except the joy that I received from their affection? And their fellowship.

I wanted to be an incalculable blessing to my children. And the love of Jesus is his incalculable blessing to you. Every expression of Jesus is love. Every word of Jesus is love. Every action of Jesus is love.

And his greatest love is a death on the cross which pardons you…

- Which protects you

- which gives you wisdom to direct your life

- which provides you his goodness to relieve your pain

- and provides his mercy to supply your needs

walk in the spirit of love. It will cast out fear.


For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Followers of Jesus who are inhabited by the Holy Spirit are constantly learning self-control. The self-controlled person is ruled from the mind, not from the emotion. The self-controlled person is clearheaded, free from wild fluctuations in thinking and ideas and feelings. The self-controlled person makes decisions that are thoughtful and wise. The self-controlled person does not live for the moment but takes all things into account before he acts.

You see, we get to decide which story that we will live in. We get to decide which word we will listen to. We get to decide which voice will speak into our life. The opposite of the spirit of self-control is fear - that there is nothing I can do, that I’m overwhelmed, I’m outnumbered, it’s too late, that even God can’t fix this.

I remember listening to Craig Groeschel talking about a time that he was overwhelmed by fear. And right in the middle of his pity party the spirit of God spoke to him and said, “quit whining, you’re sharp, you can fix this.”

“There are more for me than against me…”

God has given you the ability to trust him in the midst of fear. The picture of a follower of Jesus who is constantly being a coward, or intimidated, or afraid is not accurate have somebody who believes in Jesus Christ. The picture of a follower of Jesus who is constantly caught up in some conspiracy theory, who is following some weird rabbit trails, or who was swayed by every new theory or thing that comes along is not what a Jesus follower looks like.

Our thoughts rule our hearts and when our thoughts are fixed on the King of Kings and the Lord of lords we will not be given to fearful emotions so easily.

Don’t you want to step out of the spirit of fear and walk in the spirit of God’s power, God’s love, and self-control?

Jesus never lived to scared. Even when facing the cross he knew about resurrection power, he knew about his father’s love, and he didn’t run away from the cross but through self-control he submitted to it.

Paul knew what it was like to live with power, love and self-control. He wrote about his sufferings and his difficulties but he always knew that God was using his sufferings other than his sufferings exposing a weak God.

What would it look like if all followers of Jesus were delivered from the spirit of fear? That we stop drinking the Kool-Aid that our world was selling? That we approached our civic duties, our political responsibilities, our workplaces, our health challenges, our families, our opportunities, without being afraid but in the spirit of power, love and self-control?

I would dare say that you would be the brightest bulb in the room. That you would be the most hopeful person in the group. That you would be the last person to give up.

The SOF is fed by sources…turn them off.

The Spirit of faith is fed by sources…turn them up!