Bible Reading: Psalm 34:1-22
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and a personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control]” (2 Timothy 1:7 Amplified Bible)
In seeking to encourage Timothy, Paul puts his finger on one of Timothy’s problems – fear! The word translated, as “fear” is the Greek word ‘deilia’, and is always used in a bad sense. The Greek word derives from ‘deiliao’ that has the sense of ‘to shrink for fear’ and hence running away or cowardice. This kind of fear is negative and does not come from God.
Paul calls this fear a spirit. The Bible says what it means and means what it says. An evil spirit of fear had attacked Timothy. Because it was an evil spirit it was powerful. It was more than just a feeling of being afraid, but was gripping and controlling his thought life. Timothy had to give an opening to the spirit of fear in order for it to rob him of a heart on fire for Jesus. In a similar way, Elijah allowed a spirit from Jezebel to pierce his spiritual armour, and as a result ran in fear for his life (1 Kings 19).
We cannot be sure what the opening was to the spirit of fear in Timothy’s life but there are several possibilities. Some people in the church at Ephesus rejected Timothy. Rejection often results in a fear of rejection that can open the door to the enemy. It may have been a fear of suffering for Christ, or feeling inadequate to handle the church situation in Ephesus. Perhaps it was the fear of confronting people. Whatever it was, it had opened a door to the enemy. Job said, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25 NKJV). If we do not deal with our fears then they will increasingly paralyse us and give a foothold to the enemy in our lives.
This spirit of fear was hindering Timothy from using his God-given gift. It had to be faced up to and dealt with. Tomorrow we will look at how this spirit of fear attacked Timothy, but sufficient today to say that God is able to set us free from fear and the torment that it brings. King David knew what fear was, and his testimony was, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:4).
Has fear caused you to be tormented, and not to fulfil your real potential? This is a time to face up to those fears, and bring them humbly to the Lord. Will you bring your fears to him now and ask Him to set you free?
David said, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me?” (Psalm 56:3). How do you respond to these words of David?
What do you think of the statement, “When we fear God, we need fear nothing else”?