2 Timothy 1:7 - “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
There’s a lot going on in the world right now. A virus that has turned our daily lives upside down. Economic worries. Things that make people afraid. I wouldn’t be honest if I said I wasn’t a little worried. But as I said before, I’ve dealt with worry and anxiety for a long time. I’m used to that feeling.
I’ve been fearful of many things in my life. I’ve had anxiety attacks over simple things that had me frozen. As a kid I dealt with things that had me scared for my life. They were huge. But as a kid I also held fast to my relationship with Jesus. My young adult years were different. I also mentioned before I went prodigal. I turned away from God. I had to deal with my fears on my own. I was so scared of things that I lost control. I even turned to suicide, though, very thankfully, unsuccessfully.
This world provides many reasons to fear and be anxious. It seems every couple of years there’s a new illness. Kids afraid of abusive situations. Parents afraid they can’t make ends meet despite working as hard as they can. I mean, I’m even afraid of heights and the dark. The dark, you say? Yep. The dark. It’s nonsense to some. To many, actually. But fears are fears, and though the may be irrational, they can be very real.
But those are worldly fears. And I found some good news.
Reading the gospel of John, Jesus says that unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. I used to struggle with what that means, just like Nicodemus. Not quite in the same way, as I get Jesus meant spiritually, but what does that look like? Then I got to Paul telling the Corinthians when we are in Christ we are a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come!
Reading that and knowing that my life belongs to Christ now became very reassuring. I began to understand why I don’t have to be afraid of worldly fears. I am a new creation in Christ gifted with the Holy Spirit within me. And with that comes the power of Christ, the love of Christ, and the sound mind (some versions of the Bible say discipline or self-control) of Christ. Christ overcame this world. I began to finally see. If Christ already overcame those worldly fears I have because He overcame the world, then what am I worried about?
I consider 2 Timothy 1:7 my life verse. I realize that when I’m afraid or have anxiety, that is not from God. And if it’s not from God, it’s the enemy or the world, and He overcame that. So yeah, I might still have anxiety, but if I press into Jesus, and treasure Him and His word and obey Him, I will have nothing to worry about. To be sure, that’s easier said than done. That’s where the sound mind/discipline/self-control come in. I need to remember and keep my faith to know the power and love of the Almighty God. That takes practice and discipline. Pray, read His Word, and be with Him. That’s how He can become the calm in the storm. Kind of like how Jesus was able to sleep peacefully as the boat was a rockin’ in the waves!
And as I think about 2 Timothy 1:7, what’s even more amazing was Paul wrote that letter to Timothy...from jail. JAIL! I’ve never been, but being in jail would freak me out. Paul was in jail, writing to his close friend Timothy, who was out sharing Jesus with the world, and Paul was trying to make Timothy feel better. To me, that’s incredible. It’s an amazing example of how Jesus is. And that spirit of power, love, and self control? That’s the Holy Spirit in US! Paul had every reason to be anxious and here he was calming down Timothy, who was free and sharing Jesus. I won’t mince words. I want that big time.
The best part is, as a new creation in Christ, we have that now.
So the old me is the anxiety-filled person I was. The new me is a child of God, saved by Jesus, gifted with the Holy Spirit with no need to fear because Jesus overcame it all. Sure, I get anxious still, but with discipline and the grace and love of Jesus I don’t have to stay that way. And I get to share that with others and meet the new them as the Holy Spirit teaches them the same thing.
Much love, everyone.