Have you ever noticed that mankinds natural response is to run from God? I mean, we see this from the very beginning: Adam and Eve ran and hid from God after they ate the fruit, Moses ran and hid in the desert after killing an Egyptian, Peter ran back to fishing after denying Christ, and on and on...
Why is this our natural response? Why is it that when we need Him most, our default response is to run and hide? Its easily summed up with one word, fear. Fear is at the root of this response and insecurity is at the root of fear. Today we are going to look at Pauls second letter to Timothy, a young disciple who dealt with the issue of fear, and the encouragement Paul gave to him to not walk in fear, but to find security in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Different kinds of fear
The first thing that we must understand is that there are different kinds of fear. Some fear is good for us. For instance, fear is often shown to be an understandable response throughout the Scriptures. In Proverbs 9:10 we see,
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
There is also our natural, physical fear. This fear provokes a necessary response to protect ourselves from danger. I can have a healthy fear of heights that can keep me alive. This fear comes from the Greek word phobos. It literally means to be afraid. It is where our word phobia comes from.
However, the word used in this scripture is not the same. The word for fear in this verse leads back to the root word deilia. This word means coward, or other translations often lead back to the word timidity.
There is a big difference between these two fears. One is a response that can lead toward wisdom and protection; the other refers to lacking courage or being timid.
God has not given us a spirit of fear (cowardice)
It is so important that we learn the difference between good fear and a spirit of fear. God does not give us a spirit of fear. He calls us to see with spiritual eyes, and to be willing to step out in courage, knowing that as we step out, He will step in. When we act in a spirit of fear, we separate ourselves from God, operating on our own strength and wisdom. This always leads us to feeling overwhelmed and alone.
The first thing we must do is realize that God has given us the power of the Holy Spirit, so that we may step out in calling and in courage. The Lord said it to Joshua like this,
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go (Jos 1:9).
We must see that we cannot operate in a spirit of fear, cowering from what we know we ought to do. When we step out in courage, God is with us wherever we go.
When we operate in a spirit of fear, we cannot operate in the
Just as much as we must see that God has not given us a spirit of fear, we must also see that He has given us power through the Holy Spirit along with certain spiritual gifts to combat this fear. This power comes in the way of relationship with Him and in gifts He gives to us.
When we ask the Lord into our hearts we get all of God; however, there is a need for a second baptism. We see this baptism promised to the disciples by the Father and poured out on the day of Pentecost in the upper room. We must activate the Spirit of God in our lives, by putting to death the old creation and walking as a new creation, living for the will of the Lord, not our own. This means that He gets our all: our hopes, our desires, our dreams, our self-ambitions. Sure it comes at a cost, but the good far outweighs the bad. Once we take this step, then we can, as Paul says to Timothy, fan into flame the gift that God has given each of us. This is the beginning of a relationship with the Holy Spirit. When we operate in the power of the Holy Spirit, utilizing the gifts He has given us, we take complete hold of the calling God has for us.
The only way we can take hold of this power is by stepping out in faith, knowing that as we step out and break the spirit of fear, the power of the Most High God will be given to us to operate in the supernatural.
We maintain this power through a spirit of love
Paul writes, Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away (1Co 13:4-10). Paul goes on to say that the greatest of all things is love.
Power is the strength to overcome, but love is the fruit to maintain. When we walk in the Spirit, our focus stays off of ourselves, and this leaves no room for a spirit of fear.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. (1Jn 4:18-19)
Through a spirit of power and love, a sound mind is formed
We must never forget that we are more spirit than we are flesh. Our flesh will pass away, but our spirit will live on. We must take control of our flesh; our minds must be made sound.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. (Ro 8:6-8)
Jesus told His disciples,
Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mt 26:41)
Another way to look at this is the flesh is weak, but the spirit is willing. Think of it like this, when we are walking in the flesh, we are weak, but when we are walking in the Spirit, we are strong. This should be an indicator for us like a blinking red light or loud siren. If we see ourselves weak and overwhelmed, we are operating apart from God; our mind has gotten the best of us and we are out on our own. Next comes the response. Will we repent and move back into relationship that leads to the power and love of the Spirit? Or, will we run away, listening to a mind that has not been disciplined?
We are designed in a way that we are to be reliant on God. This means that our security only comes when we are walking in line with His will. The only time we become insecure is when sin separates us from our Creator and our eyes become open to our incomplete nature. When we are walking in a spirit of fear, we are operating separate from God, most likely due to sin, and insecurity takes root. We end up hiding in the garden, naked and ashamed.
We were made with a certain measure of insecurity built into us. God formed us in such a way that we are to be reliant on Him. Sin has distorted the truth and now when we feel we are incomplete and unworthy, insecurity kicks in and we run. However, the truth is God made us to only be complete in Him. When we fail, our response should be to run to Him and realize that the only reason we failed is because we allowed ourselves to be separated from Him. So how do we fix this? We live each day reliant upon Him, in relationship with Him, walking in the power and the love given to us by the Spirit. This relationship with Him leads to a sound mind that comes from complete reliance upon our Creator. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we overcome sin, addictions, depression, selfishness, pride and any other human elements that we feel disqualifies us from being in communion with the Father and walking in our calling.
1) Do you find yourself overtaken with fear, worrying about anything and everything?
2) Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit?
3) Do you know your calling and are you pursuing it?
4) Will you choose today to allow fear and insecurity to operate as an alarm to you that you are not walking in a spirit of power, love and a sound mind?