For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
~ 2 Timothy 1:7
Several years ago there was a series of books which was popular called the Divergent series. (Yes, there were quickly made into a series of movies as well!) Early on in the series the reader is introduced a character who is initially and primarily known as “Four.” It seems an odd nickname but Four lives in a community where only the strong survive and so those who seek to join his community learn that teasing him about his name is not a wise decision.
The task of Four’s community, known as the Dauntless, is to ensure the safety and security of the city in which they live. They are essentially the police force. A key part of the training to join the Dauntless is to face your fears. Every. Single. One. They are put through a test which plunges each person in a virtual world where their worst fears come to life and they must find a way to defeat the fear and do the job they are trained to do. Four gets his nickname because he has just four fears to face in his final test. Even among the Dauntless, who are known for being virtually fearless, it is a record setting low number of fears.
But just as the fearless Dauntless still actually do each have their own individual fears, each person reading this, no matter how brave or fearless they may appear to be to others, still has fears they must face in their life. Many of those fears develop during our childhood and teen years and then stick with us for the majority of our lives in some shape or form. Fears such as not being accepted by our peers, failing, poverty, what the future will hold, doing something embarrassing, and finding ourselves in a dangerous situation beyond our control are often familiar long before our adult years.
So what is your greatest fear? Where does that fear find its roots in your life?
In our Friday theme verse for this summer, we catch a glimpse of some advice Paul is giving to Timothy as he strives to lead a group of Christians trying to grow in their faith. If you were looking to sum it up, you could simply say Paul is reminding Timothy to BE BOLD.
Timothy, just like you and me, had his own fears and insecurities. The first step in dealing with those fears and insecurities is the same today as it was for Timothy: understanding where they come from. The NEW SPIRIT given to us when we declare our faith and trust in Jesus Christ is not one that brings fear of anything in this world. It is a Spirit which connects us to the power of God. It enables us to treat others with the same love with which God loves each person. It allows us to, in times of fear and distress, to make decision from a calm mind instead of giving into the panic and confusion.
Overcoming fear, embracing the Spirit God has given us, isn’t meant to be a badge of honor we wear. We are called to face and overcome fear so that we are able to use the gifts God has given to us to do the work He has called us to do. Paul here is eluding to the same type of fear Moses faced when God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. Moses had every excuse to not do what God was calling him to do. Moses let his fears and insecurities disqualify him. So God removed his excuses and calls Aaron to serve alongside his brother, a man with the abilities Moses felt he lacked.
This is an important reminder for Timothy as well as for us. Timothy would have known very well the story of Moses and would have also viewed him as a great leader in the Jewish faith. Moses did not, in fact, lack anything when it came to answering God’s call to free the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. The task just looked too big and overwhelming from his human perspective. In the same way, Timothy did not lack anything in what God was calling him to do in leading and teaching those who were part of the early church. And in the same way still, each of us do not lack anything when we a fully in line with what God is calling us to do with our lives. Moses, Timothy, and us today all have the same power given by the same Spirit.
So the question we are left with is how are we letting fear dictate our lives when we should be letting God’s call be what defines our lives?
Check out our theme verse video for Friday!
One of the key parts of the training the Dauntless had to master in facing their fears was to stay calm and maintain clear thinking in the face of their greatest fears. Check out the video below to see how one trainee does when facing their fears. How well are you able to think when facing your fears?
It is said that the power Paul speaks of here is expressed in how much and how well we love and serve others. How is this different than how the world thinks of and views power? In light of this, how well do you express the power God has given you?