Chewy is my 2 year old Grand- dog. She’s the cutest thing ever, but she’s timid. I have never hit her, or yelled at her, or otherwise scared her, yet she cowers sometimes when I attempt to pet her. It’s ridiculous, really, I mean, why does she act afraid of the person who cares for, feeds, hugs, and genuinely loves her? Goldie, on the other hand, is my older dog (14 yrs), and she only acts afraid when she knows she has done something wrong. The other day when I came home, Goldie was cowering and shaking with pure fear. I knew immediately that she had done something wrong, and she knew I knew it too. She had torn up the garbage in the basement for the two hundredth time, and she was literally shaking with fear, not timidity, but fear. And even though I did not hit her for her bad deed, she got a stern rebuke from me that made her feel pretty bad. And the cat, don’t even get me started, she’s the most skittish thing I’ve ever seen.
“God has not given US a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7) The New American Standard Bible translates the word “fear” in 2 Timothy 1:7 as “timidity.” As I think about my two dogs, I see a difference between timidity and fear. In Goldie’s case, the fear was justified. She did something wrong and was therefore rightly afraid of the consequences. Chewy was afraid of someone doing wrong to her, even though she had no real reason for her fear. In 2 Timothy chapter one, Paul was telling young Timothy not to be timid (or cowardly) about his faith. After Paul told Timothy that “God has not given us a spirit of fear….”, he also told him in the next verse, “Do not be ashamed of the Gospel or of my chains…” (2 Timothy 1:8)
As Christians, we can certainly be timid when it comes to sharing our faith, or even when drawing near to God. Sometimes we cower at the thought of God calling us to a ministry, or we’re afraid of Him changing us “too much” because we might not fit in with people in this world as well as we did before we let God take over.
Whatever the reason for our timidity or cowardice, God has not given us that kind of spirit. If we are afraid or timid, we can be assured that we are not acting according to God’s Spirit. Our loving Father God has given us a Spirit of POWER (from the Greek word, “dunamis” where we get our English word, “dynamite.” It means “force,” and specifically “miraculous power”), LOVE (from the Greek word, “agape” which means “affection or benevolence,” specifically “a love feast”) and of a SOUND MIND (from the Greek word, “sophronismos” which means “discipline,” “self control,” “to make of sound mind.”)
Let’s recap. Paul includes himself as he tells Timothy that because of our faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, we have been given on the inside of us 1) a spirit of miraculous power, 2) so much affectionate love that it looks like a feast, and 3) a disciplined mind that will keep us from thinking ourselves into a corner of cowardice.
WOW! That’s encouraging to me! I hope it is to you as well.
In Jesus, we are victors, not victims; helpers not helpless; heroes, not cowards; advancing, not hiding. To the world, we are strangers, not friends; faithful, not fearful; we are resolute, not double minded; and we are legitimate children of the One, true God, not abandoned orphans of the devil. We are composed, confident, bold, courageous lions, not timid, trembling, scaredy-cats.
When God calls us to a work, let’s not cower in fear like He’s going to hurt us. Why should we be afraid of our God who cares for, feeds, protects and genuinely loves us? Instead, let us answer His call with a loud roar, “Here I am, Lord, SEND ME!”