If you’re afraid of the dark, if you’ve encountered a scary situation, if you can’t seem to put your mind at ease, 2 Timothy 1:7 may have been a verse that came to mind or one that someone has given to you. I don’t want to burst your bubble—because we shouldn’t be fearful when God is on our side—but in context, that verse really doesn’t have much to do with being afraid and has more to do with being bold.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT)
That’s a great verse and I know it’s helped many get through some pretty intense situations, but take a look at what Paul tells Timothy next.
So you must never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.
2 Timothy 1:8 (NLT)
That doesn’t sound much like Timothy was struggling with night terrors or paranoia. It sounds as though Timothy was having trouble finding his voice when it came to sharing the Gospel.
I don’t want to make light of those who genuinely deal with fear. It’s something we all deal with at times in our lives, but I want to be sure that we really understand what these verses are talking about.
Preceding these passages, Paul reminds Timothy to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave him. Then he tells him that God hasn’t given him a spirit of fear.
God has given all of us—yes all—spiritual gifts. And sometimes it can be difficult to step out in these gifts. What if I’m wrong? What if I’ve missed God? What if someone makes fun of me? What if people don’t understand? There is nothing wrong with having these questions. The error comes when we allow them to control when and how we use the gifts God has given us. This is why Paul tells Timothy not to fear. He says, I am not ashamed, because I know Jesus, the One in whom I have believed (NCV).
There is a boldness that comes when we know Christ, I mean really know Christ. He gives us the power, love, and self-discipline to step out in the gifts that he has given to us. And then it is up to us to use, to refine, and to protect those gifts.
Protect the truth that you were given; protect it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
2 Timothy 1:14 (NCV)
The more you use your gift—whatever that gift may be—the more confident you will become in it. Never be ashamed to use what God has given you, but be confident in the One who gave it to you.
Daily Bible reading: Jeremiah 20-22, 2 Timothy 1