“Feed the Flame of God’s Gift: Encouragement to Boldness” (2 Timothy 1:1-7)

Mar 15, 2024 By: Johnny Dos Santos Topic: Sermon Devotional Scripture: 2 Tim. 1:1-7

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

There are many types of fears and hundreds of phobias: fear of being alone, of darkness, of driving, of heights, of animals, of water, and one of the most common of all, the fear of getting sick and dying. 

These fears could develop into phobias (a persistent and irrational fear of a specific situation, object, or activity).

The bottom line is that fear is a universal, shared experience. At least 60% of adults admit to having one unreasonable fear. 

What does the Bible say about fear? 

While the Bible does not talk about specific types of fears and phobias, it addresses the issue of fear. Look at Proverbs 29:25: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

When we trace back the roots of fear, we discover that it is the result of Adam and Eve’s sin: “I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10). Up to the moment of disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were neither afraid of talking to God nor ashamed of their nakedness.   

From that moment on, we see humanity diving deep and succumbing to all kinds of fears, especially the fear of man. In his book When People Are Big, and God is Small, Edward Welch summarizes the fear of man this way: “We replace God with people. Instead of a biblically guided fear of the Lord, we fear others.” Sometimes, this fear of man is called peer pressure, people-pleasing, or co-dependency. 

In his last words to Timothy (last words tend to be the lasting words), Paul reminds Timothy that the Spirit in him is not of fear but power, love, and sound mindedness to carry out his ministry. Jesus’s last words to his disciples before ascending to heaven are in Luke 24:49: “And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” In his last words, Jesus promised to send power from heaven. 

Because of the fall, fear is a shared reality for humanity. However, born-again believers share the same life and Spirit through Christ’s redemptive work. This Spirit is the power of God for creatures below to live according to the standards of the kingdom above. And because this is an objective reality attained by grace through faith, the question is: whom or what shall we fear? Whom or what shall we be afraid of? (Psalm 27:1). 

The answer is nothing and no one. Even though many fears, phobias, and anxieties may try to assail us, believers can confidently say and move forward because the Lord is our salvation; therefore, “my heart will not give in or live in fear” (Psalm 27:3). 

The Gospel both frees us from our crippling fears and gives us instead a redeemed fear, the fear of God, and the fear of God makes us wise unto salvation. 

Every true believer fears the Lord through his Spirit living in us, but the question that we should ask ourselves is: on a day-to-day basis, am I operating under the fear of the Lord or the fear of man? Am I more concerned about honoring God or with what others think or may say about me? 

An honest heart search may reveal that while we fear the Lord, we also fear man and seek their approval to the point of losing hope and perspective. 

May the Lord empower us to fear Him more and not to fall into the snare of the fear of man.