Facing Down Fear
This passage of scripture has been quoted time and time again especially at the onset of the current crisis that we are dealing with.
There is much in our world that would provoke fear in our hearts as we navigate these unusual circumstances. Some are fearful of government control, others are fearful of contracting the virus, others are fearful that life may never get back to normal after this pandemic has run its course, others are fearful that they may never recover from the financial toll this crisis has taken on their livelihood.
These are all legitimate fears, yet as believers we cannot allow ourselves to be controlled by fear. Fear can often paralyze us and cause us to fail to move forward in following the Lord.
This is exactly what it seems had happened to Timothy. Paul had endured terrible persecution and suffering as he carried the gospel throughout much of the known world. Apparently Timothy was concerned and even fearful that in carrying out the ministry God had called him to, he would also face similar opposition.
Paul encouragesTimothy to exercise the gifts that God has given to him and that he must not be controlled by fear. He reminds Timothy that God has not given us the spirit of fear but has instead given us power, love, and a sound mind to help us to overcome our fears.
We overcome the spirit of fear by:
The Power of God
The Power of God
Power here refers the the supernatural power of God that is present in the life of every believer. This power is given to us at the moment of our salvation by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:8- the Spirit of God would empower the early church to carry our the mission they had been given and the same is true for you and I today. The Spirit of God will empower us to conquer our fears and to carry out the mission that God has given to each of us.
I Corinthians 2:1-4- Paul himself knew what it was to live in fear and weakness but he also recognized that the power of God would enable him to carry out the ministry God had called him to.
There will be times even as each of us resume our normal lives that we fear to do what God has called us to do, yet we have the assurance that the power of God will enable us to do what God has called us to do.
When fear begins to rise we must recognize that we have the supply of the supernatural power of God which is more than enough to overcome any obstacle or opposition we may face.
We need not live in fear, but rather in faith, understanding that through God’s power there is nothing we cannot accomplish and no threat that can overcome us.
Love for Christ and love for the lost will also give us the ability to overcome our fears.
II Corinthians 5:14-15- the love of Christ constraineth us
I John 4:16-19- we recognize His love for us and this provokes us to love Him and to boldly serve him because of love.
The love that we have for Christ will help us to overcome any fears that we might entertain. The love we have for Christ and the love that we know Christ has for the lost should motivate us to do the will of God regardless of the danger or opposition we face.
Illustration- running into a burning building to save a child. We do so because of love!
When fear begins to rise we must remember the love that Christ had for us as evidenced by the suffering and shame He endured to purchase our redemption. His love should provoke us to love Him in return and in light of that love we should be willing to serve Him in whatever capacity He calls us to.
When we are motivated by our love for Christ and we are living in light of His love we need not fear because we know that His love assures that He will not allow us to suffer unnecessarily and that even in the midst of suffering He will give peace and comfort.
Our love for Christ will eliminate our fear of serving Him, our love for the lost will eliminate our fear of taking the gospel to them, love is a great motivation for overcoming whatever fears that may plague us in this life.
A Sound Mind
A Sound Mind
God has given us the ability to think rationally and to be able to exercise wisdom in making decisions. God has given us a sound mind to be able to govern our behavior properly assessing risk and determining a proper response to that risk.
Many of the fears that you and I entertain are beyond reason and would be immediately dismissed by sound thinking. We must use the faculties that God has given to us and exercise sound judgment.
Paul is not here recommending that Timothy ignore the dangers and risks that are present as he carries out the ministry God has called him to. He is not encouraging Timothy to pretend that there is no danger and that he will not face persecution.
Instead he is simply reminding Timothy of the sound mind that God has given him to assess each situation and to make decision under the leadership of the Spirit of God.
There were times in Paul’s ministry when the logical thing to do was to move on lest he risk being killed and the loss of the opportunity to continue the missionary work God had called him to accomplish.
There were also times when the Spirit of God clearly led him to remain in an area where there was persecution or danger to further the gospel there (Corinth for example in Acts 18:9-11)
Either way Paul used sound judgement to make rational decisions based on the level of risk he knew to be present while also taking into account the Spirit’s leadership.
God has blessed us with the ability to reason and each of us can exercise this ability to make sound decisions without allowing ourselves to be controlled by fear.
When fear begins to rise we must take the time to think through what it is that we fear and determine if it is rational and sensible and then we must make sound decisions based on our assessment.
We assess risk and make decisions based on that risk every day of our lives why should this crisis be any different?
John 15:18-21- we should expect persecution and opposition from the world but we need not fear it. Luke 12:4-5- fear God not man
The only fear we should have is a healthy fear of God. It is He who ultimately reigns sovereignly over all the affairs of mankind.
Hebrews 13:5-6- he hath said/so that we may say
Let us determine today that we will not live in constant fear but that by the power of God, being motivated by love, and with the wisdom of a sound mind we will face down our fears and live as God would have us to live!