The Christian's Antidote to Fear
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV)
Every day you pick up a newspaper, there seems to be something in it about the threat of terrorism. Did you know that the greatest weapon terrorists have, is not a biological weapon or a suicide bomber or a dirty bomb? Their greatest weapon is fear. But that’s not the only terror facing our world today. Some people fear the pandemics that the medical world says could kill hundreds of thousands; others are afraid of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis and killer storms; still others are fearful of losing everything they’ve worked for as a result of an economic downturn. In our country, the hearts of many grow cold as the American landscape is littered with the bodies of the victims of mass shootings; and as gang violence and muggings and other assaults plague our inner cities. Add to that the dread of wars and rumors of war, the anxiety of growing old and of failing health, and the fear of failure and rejection, and you end up with a pervasive spirit of fear that affects not only our progress and productivity as a society, but also our health and our well-being.
In contrast to all that, God has given us the Holy Spirit, who lives in every believer. The Holy Spirit gives us not only love and the power to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also boldness in the face of adversity and frightening headlines. That was the encouragement that the apostle Paul gave to Timothy, a young minister who apparently struggled with timidity. God’s plan was that Christians would stand out in a world cringing with fear. Even today, the Lord says, “My people won’t live that way, no matter what goes on in the world or in their personal lives. While everyone else is wringing their hands, their hands will be lifted in praise to God.” The Lord’s intention is for his people to live courageously and confidently, in a dimension that will break us out of our phobias and fears when the Holy Spirit is controlling our lives. Then we can be effective witnesses to the world around us, who will wonder where we are getting our confidence in the midst of so much turmoil and uncertainty.
It is worth pointing out that Jesus never knew one moment of fear in his life; and God wants to conform us to the image of his Son—not only in terms of his love and patience and kindness, but also in his boldness and confidence in our heavenly Father. Whether you put Jesus in front of a howling mob filled with hatred, or Herod, or Pontius Pilate who ordered him to be beaten, we never see Jesus losing his poise or cringing, wondering what they would do to him next. He had the Spirit without measure, it’s true; but when he died and rose again and ascended to the right hand of the Father, he sent the Holy Spirit so that we don’t have to live in fear.
Why don’t we take time today to thank God that we don’t have to live life cowering. Instead, we can be supernaturally lifted by God above every threat that this world and the enemy of our souls throws our way, so that we can have victory over the fear and the terror that surround us.
Read 2 Timothy 1:6-12.