“For God has not given us a Spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Tim 1:7).
Paul was alone in a prison about to be put to death, he had been abandoned by my of his friends, and he is pleading with his beloved “son in the faith” not to be afraid to suffer with him for the gospel (verse 8). But how exactly does “not being afraid” work?
While trying harder doesn’t seem to eliminate my fears, reflecting on the glorious truths of the gospel most assuredly does.
There is a debate as to whether “spirit” in this verse refers to the human spirit or the Holy Spirit. Though some of the several scholars whom I deeply respect argue that Paul is speaking about the human spirit, I have been persuaded by other scholars that Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit (see verse 14!). God did not give us a fearful, weak, easily embittered, and out-of-control Spirit. The moment we put our faith in Jesus (Eph 1:13-14), God’s Spirit took up residence in our lives. The Spirit who lives inside of us is bold, powerful, loving, and disciplined. We are well-equipped to stand our ground against the devil’s empty threats! The next time we are tempted to cower up in a ball till all the craziness of our times passes by, let’s stop and remember who is living inside of us. God’s Spirit is closer to us than our own skin. Whom shall we fear?!
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).