For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Timothy 1:7
I received 3 emails yesterday quoting this verse (including my own).
We throw it out as a Christian’s life-preserver for these days of covid-19 cautions. As I studied this verse in my Bible, however, I noticed a bigger picture. God’s plan for giving us “not a spirit of fear” is revealed in the next verse:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” 2 Timothy 1:8
The word “therefore” shows us the purpose of the previous statement. The spirit of love, power, and a sound mind that God gives is not for our own reassurance in difficult times. It’s about us having the tools to share the good news so lost people can have present and everlasting peace with God, just as we do.
It is not a life-preserver for us to cling to so much as it is a lifeguard’s chair, propping us up to help rescue others.
The spirit of love, power and sound mind should spur us on to share the hope that we have (1 Peter 3:15).
“So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord… With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. ” (2 Tim. 1:8 in the NLT).
Let’s focus on the big picture when it comes to fear, particularly those brought by Covid-19. To recap, God gave us 3 things to replace fear (I challenge you to take the time with me to read all the verses here):
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” Acts 1:8.
“This Good News about Christ… is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes,” Romans 1:16.
“Because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:2.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.
“I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
“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.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
3. Sound Mind:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:13
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:6-8
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2
Holy Spirit-power, love that bears all things, and a grounded mental state—
God provided these 3 things so that we might share the good news about Jesus with the people around us. And the next 2 verses in 2 Timothy tells us again that Good News:
“For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. 10 And now he has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and immortality through the Good News.” 2 Timothy 2:9-10 (emphasis mine)
I get goosebumps reading this! What a hope we have been filled with! Let’s take this chance to be a part of God’s kingdom work, especially during this unique time for our world.
Its as simple as sharing your own God-story. Instead of arguing or monologuing, ask good questions and listen well. Talk about why you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, and what it means to you.
Express your love for your people, loving them enough to want to share this part of your life (not win an argument or prove them wrong). Open the Bible with them, let God’s word speak for itself, and don’t be afraid to ask, “do you want to join God’s family?”
As a friend of mine so eloquently stated: “We have a sovereign, omnipotent God of peace… now is a good opportunity for the gospel I think.”
Ready to explore more about what it means to share your faith? Click here for 5 Gospel Sharing Hacks That Will Change the World.