If there is one thing on which we can all agree, it’s that the world can be a scary place. Whether we are talking about war and global economic strife or the everyday challenges of work and home, fear is a normal emotion that each of us must deal with. But how? How do we move forward with hope and optimism when there is so much to fear? Let’s take a look at a few key principles if we are going to experience the “failure of fear.”
A great place to start is with these well-known verses that talk about fear, its origin and its remedy.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 “Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
So what do we learn from these verses? We learn that we can experience the “failure of fear” by realizing that:
1. Fear is human
We will all be afraid. Even Timothy, the recipient of the letter these verses are in experienced fear. What’s crazy about that is his experience watching Paul the Apostle deal with difficulty and the unknown with great faith and confidence. We just can’t escape the human emotion of fear. The Psalmist said it this way:
Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
Fear is not bad…it’s human and can be helpful if it causes you to think about what you are about to do before you do it. Fear becomes bad when it keeps you from following God’s plan for your life. When it keeps you from doing the thing or things that you know you are supposed to do. Caution, planning, counsel, and thought are good things. Inaction because of what MIGHT happen is when fear moves form a normal human emotion to the thing that will keep us from following God’s plan for our lives. But don’t ever be ashamed to be afraid. Just commit ahead of time, like the Psalmist did, that when you are afraid, you will trust God and do what He wants you to do anyhow!
2. Fear doesn’t come from God (v7)
Where does fear come from? In our passage Paul wanted Timothy to know that the fear he was experiencing, although it may be natural, was not placed there by God. Fear is a concern over what might happen at some point in the future. Faith is the confidence that even though I don’t know what might happen, God does. And if He is leading me, then I will just trust Him.
Fear comes because we know that we cannot control the outcome of our decision. Acting on fear is the opposite of acting in faith because it is dependent on us and not on God! And we are told that the only way to truly please God is by faith. That is how we experience the “failure of fear.”
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
3. You have all that you need to accomplish His will (v7)
Fear is saying to the one who created us, “I know what you want me to do, I just don’t think you have given me everything I need to do it.” It is a lack of confidence in the one who gave us our gifts. Verse seven of this passage helps us to understand that when God gives a gift, He also gives the Strength, Capacity, and Mental Ability to leverage that Gift for His purpose. Three gifts from God are mentioned:
Power: the strength to accomplish all that God has set before us.
Love: the capacity to do what God wants us to do and care for those He has placed in our lives.
Sound Mind: the mental ability and wisdom to make the right decisions at the right time.
The Bible puts it this way:
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
1Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
Our part is to obey, His part is to provide!
4. We need to stir up the gift (v6)
Do the work and don’t wait for all the answers. Do what you know you are supposed to do right now. Life is a journey taken one step at a time. The Christian life is a journey taken one obedient, faith filled step at a time.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Here’s the thing; God cares more about you trusting Him than he does some arbitrary measure of success. Fear keeps us from some wonderful things in life but more than anything it keeps us from having the close, trusting, faith filled relationship that we could have with a Father that loves us and wants only what is best for us even when He is the only one that knows what that is. God will not scold us for failing; He will be sad for us because we unnecessarily lived in the bondage of fear instead of the freedom of faith.
Stop being afraid!
Embrace the Power, Love, and Sound mind given to us by God and live the life He intends for you! It is time to live in victory and experience the “failure of fear” in your life!