…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
Several days ago, terrorists from ISIS attacked numerous places in Paris, France. Ambushing a concert and restaurant patios, the terrorists killed over 120 and injured many more. This horrific (and cowardly) attack struck fear into the lovely city of Paris and beyond, the fear ripples now reaching the civilized world. (My parents were in Paris the day before, and praise God they made it out before the attacks.)
Today news headlines are littered with the situation with Syrian refugees. Many feel the only right thing to do is to accept all refugees and many feel the right thing to do is to refuse them all (for fear there are terrorists among them). Some land in the middle or maybe they are still trying to understand the situation.
Presidential debates are an often occurrence these days, with the right and the left doing verbal battle with their fellow party members. We want to know who will be our next Commander-In-Chief and it seems everyone has a hot opinion on who would be best for America. Again, fear seems to control much of the conversation.
There’s a lot going on.
But let me remind you of something: God did not give us a spirit of fear. In Christ, we win whether we live or die (Phil. 1:21). We must seek to lay our life at the feet of Jesus and allow His Spirit to guide us, no matter how scary – or even deadly the path may be (Matt. 16:25).
Here are some reminders from 1 Timothy 1:17:
- God did not give us a spirit of fear. Do not be anxious (Matt. 6:34). Our worries don’t add to our life, they take it away (Luke 12:25). The King of the world is our savior, our advocate, and our friend. If He is for us, who can be against us?
- We have a spirit of power. Prayer works. It changes things. And our God is sovereign. You have the Spirit of God living within you (1 Cor. 3:16). There is no greater power.
- We have a spirit of love. We are not only called to love our neighbors, we are called to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44). Do you realize that includes terrorists? Now this does not mean that we sit on our hands and do nothing, but we are to be governed by the love of Christ, which is a love that loves the unlovable. We do not drink the poison of revenge, but rather we leave ultimate justice up to God Himself (Romans 12:19). Even when we suit up for battle, we must have love and respect for the enemy.
- We have a spirit of self-control. We may voice our opinions. We ought to when we have something to say that is winsome and helpful. Christians can and should be involved in the public conversation. But we are to do so with love, grace, and truth. Here is a good measuring stick: if you are engaging in dialogue with someone, does it honor everyone (1 Peter 2:17)?
My friends, do not fear. Because of your purchase on the rugged cross, you have no need of it. And remember, it is not that we ought to be fearless, powerful, loving, and self-controlled. This is not a behavioral standard that we must meet to be righteous. No, 2 Timothy 1:7 says that God has given us a spirit of fearlessness, power, love, and self-control. We are recipients of these virtues by way of the Spirit who lives within us.