"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).
I struggle with anxiety and wrote about it in Freedom in Christ and From Panic Attacks Too. I did so to encourage others who have this disorder. Today, I want to share a nugget of truth concerning fear and its power over our lives.
Fear is a useful reaction to a dangerous event. It causes people to run for safety or to stand and fight to protect their lives. But when these feelings arise for no apparent reason, it can cause people to retreat from life (agoraphobia), or to live with constant anxiety and fear (generalized or social anxiety); both of which are debilitating, and at the very least a robber of joy!
There are many reasons why people suffer from anxiety (and depression). It may be the result of a chemical or hormonal imbalance that requires medication, a result of prolonged stress or emotional trauma, wrong thinking "misbeliefs," or even from eating the wrong foods.
The other day I read an article about fear and our feelings, which got me thinking about today's Bible verse. The article went on to say that fear is not a feeling, but it is a spirit opposed to God's wonder-working Spirit. Whether that is the case for me, or if my anxiety is a result of a chemical imbalance, or from too much stress in my life, I do know the Enemy can use my weakness to his advantage. However, I have discovered that 2 Timothy 1:7 is a powerful weapon to help me stand and fight without fear!
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy to encourage him in his faith. He said, "Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God . . . For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. . . . Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me . . . That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in us" 2 Timothy 1:6-14 (NKJV).
First, Paul says to stir up the gift* of God, which in the Greek means to rekindle God's gift. It's freely given and ours to keep, with all the benefits, including the Holy Spirit who dwells within! So let us open the gift and fan the flames!
Secondly, Paul says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear," and then explains what God has given us in contrast to the spirit of fear. We have been given a spirit of power, love, and a sound-mind. The order of these three are important to note.
The Greek word used here for power is dunamis or dynamite in English. It means force, miraculous power, ability, abundance, might. It is the same word used to describe the power that raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:19). This dynamite power, this miraculous spirit power, is available to us; but we must "stir it up--fan the flames," which then allows us to love others (and ourselves) and be of sound-mind. Only then can we do all things through Christ who gives us strength, who gives us the endunamounti, the Greek term for enabling power or life-giving power---again, that same dynamite power that raised Jesus from the dead! (See Philippians 4:13).
Finally, Paul exhorts Timothy to hold fast the pattern of sound words. We too must grab hold of God's Word, by reading it, studying it, memorizing it, and applying it in our lives. This requires self-discipline, enabled by the Holy Spirit, the basis of a sound-mind!
Jesus defeated the Enemy in the wilderness by countering the Word of God to him. We too can speak the Word of God to the spirit of fear and stir up the gift of dynamite power that is available to us. When anxieties arise, we must grab hold of God's Word and affirm, "God did not give me a spirit of fear, but has given me a spirit of power, love, and a sound-mind!"
I can report that God is miraculously using his Word from 2 Timothy to calm my fears! And if you struggle with anxiety, and are a child of God, I encourage you to fan the flames of dynamite power that is available to you! Amen!
Copyright 2013 - S.A. Keith
"There's no such thing as a worry-free life, but you can measurably reduce the effects of anxiety in your life--and even use it to become the person God wants you to be." ~ Dr. William Backus.
Finding Freedom from Anxiety and Worry is a wonderful resource for those who struggle with anxiety and worry; written by Dr. William Backus, a psychologist and pastor who also founded the Center for Christian Psychological Services. (Click the cover to learn more.)
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