Tag Archives: overcoming fear

Treating Timidity (part eight)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  2 Timothy 1:6-8

Finally the final post, yet not nearly the final word, on Paul’s antidote for timidity. I’ve spoken about such things as slaying lions in snowy pits, about how God doesn’t give a pass to the more “naturally” timid among us, about the difference between fear and fearfulness, that we should be ashamed to be ashamed of Jesus and his friends, how the Holy Spirit infuses us with courage to charge forward, and finally, how power and love specifically counter the fearful disposition. Now let’s conclude with how “self-discipline” has a deleterious effect on a spirit of fearfulness.

“Self-discipline” is, to me, the least obvious piece of Paul’s prescription in the treatment of timidity. What’s the connection here? How does having self-discipline counter my fears about doing God’s will? Remember that the context here isn’t so much about our phobias (heights, small places, flying machines, puppies…) as much as it is about our reticence to follow God in his eternal undertakings and to use our gifts in order to bring glory to the Giver. So, how does self-discipline help us do that? Continue reading

Advertisements

Treating Timidity (part seven)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God… 2 Timothy 1:6-8

Driven by the context of Paul’s advice to his timid protégé, as I talk about overcoming timidity, I want to remind you that I’m primarily referring to the kind of fears that we experience while serving in the daunting adventure of God. I’ve more often heard (and used) this passage to urge people to defeat their phobias and quell their fears of “lesser demons.” And, no doubt, many of those types of fears are the brainchildren of dark spirits to keep us embroiled in skirmishes of little consequence in order to avert us from the actual front lines where the actually kingdom advances into enemy territory. While Timothy might well have been afraid of his own shadow, so to speak, what concerned Paul was his timidity regarding his humanly impossible mission in Ephesus. His mentoring advice was intended to embolden him for the eternity-sized tasks at hand.

He gave him a three-fold prescription to dispel Timothy’s fear of the mission – the Spirit promises to saturate him (and us) with more than enough power, love and self-discipline for any world-changing chore to which he assigns us and for which he trusts us. Continue reading

Treating Timidity (part six)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  2 Timothy 1:6-8

The Spirit, a spirit, or what?

What is a spirit of power, love and self-discipline”? Is he talking about the Holy Spirit, the human spirit, a right spirit (as in, attitude) – or all three? You probably know that, in the Bible, the word “spirit” can be seen in all those ways and it usually takes the context to decipher the difference. I think Paul might have had in mind a montage of these meanings. In other words, the Holy Spirit, who lives in our human spirit, enables us to have a healthy spirit. Continue reading

Treating Timidity (part five)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God… 2 Timothy 1:6-8

[OK, I keep predicting – even promising – an end to this “conversation” on timidity, and keep saying that I’m going to talk about how “power, love, and self-discipline” counter our fearfulness. But you know how preachers are! We know how to take off and fly around in circles, but the landing part is an altogether different skill that most of us haven’t acquired. I keep finding other things to include, and in this case I feel a need to look at how the tentative expression of our faith might well be influenced by how we feel about his people, the Church. Last time I asked you:  Are you ashamed of Jesus? My next question is… ]

Are you ashamed of his followers? Continue reading

Treating Timidity (part four)

[Though I promised to talk about how an awareness of “power, love and self-discipline” counter fearfulness, we’ll have to wait till next time for that. This time I’ll differentiate between fear and fearfulness, and then ask you if you’re ashamed of Jesus!]

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God… 2 Timothy 1:6-8

Instead of being courageous lion-killers, many Christians are timid, and frankly, quite cowardly about the grand adventure into which God has invited us. Of course, the most extreme form of timidity, when the pressure’s on, is to turn one’s back on the Lord and deny him altogether. No doubt, that’s the meaning of the apparently out-of-place reference to “cowardly” among other fatal lifestyle choices in the Bible’s second-to-last chapter. Continue reading

Treating Timidity (part three)

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God… 2 Timothy 1:6-8

In parts one and two we’ve established that, compared to his mentor, Paul,  Timothy was young, sickly, shy. How does that affect his counsel to his protégé? And…

Does God give “a pass” to the timid?

Because his ministry was hard for him, do you get the impression that his mentor let Timothy off the hook? Can you hear Paul say, “You’re not a natural at this, so why don’t you find something easier to do for God? — You’re sick and scared, so maybe you should rethink your ministry and sign up for something safer. Plus, I know it’s especially hard for you since you didn’t have a dad to show you how to be a spiritual man, so why don’t you take the next decade or two to work on your inner healing before you launch out into any sort of spiritual responsibility.” Continue reading

Treating Timidity (part two)

Lion-slaying in snowy pits

“Dad,” my son asked proudly, “do you want to see my new tattoo?”

“Umm,” I’m not really into tattoos, especially the ones that cover whole limbs or trunks, but in order to be supportive – at least not combative – I feigned approval, “yeah, Luke, sure.”

He pushed his sleeve over his shoulder and revealed a drawing, conspicuous with color that covered his entire upper right arm. It’s actually a quite striking depiction of a remarkably muscled man engaged in mortal combat with a ferocious lion. Continue reading