2 Timothy 1:7

“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

The Lord spoke powerfully in our home for six days through His word.  If you’ve got a minute, please, pull up a chair… 

Day 1:  Saturday, September 8th, 2012

At a special women’s event at our church, the speaker wrote 2 Timothy 1:7 up on the board and had the group memorize it.  The group had it down pretty well in less than 10 minutes, perhaps less than 5.  I’d go into the teaching methodology but then I’d be bunny trailing, so that’s for another post.

Day 2: Sunday, September 9th, 2012

While my husband and I were getting the girls into bed, my 7-yr-old, who was not at the event the night before, told my husband she was afraid, and that God gave her the fear.  My husband, who was not at the event the night before, knew Scripture had something about God NOT giving us a spirit of fear, and so corrected my daughter on her false thinking.  I dropped in on the conversation to mention that we had just gone over that verse in my class at church the night before.   As my husband was looking for a bible, I was trying to recall where it was in Scripture (yup, mind like a steel trap), first suggesting Timothy, then decided it must have been James or Galations and ended with ‘oh, I don’t know’.   James got his phone out and quickly found the verse, 2 Timothy 1:7.

Day 3: Monday, September 10th, 2012

At the dinner table that night, my 17-yr-old son told us that he engaged in a long conversation about Christianity to a Muslim woman in a burka.   Really?  Well, tell us more.  He had extra time before his community college class began (dual enrollment), and overheard a Muslim woman tell another student that wearing the burka was the greatest thing a woman could do for God.  In the spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, not fear, my son decided to offer a bible to a stranger in a burka.  She said she already read the bible and asked if my son read the Quran.  Yes, he read the entire Quran.  Apparently surprised and intrigued, she then had many questions for my son concerning Christianity.   

After he told us his story, we prayed together as a family right then and there.  Having 2 Timothy 1:7 fresh on my mind from the two nights prior, I recited it in my prayer.  And it was a fitting verse because it certainly was power, love, and a sound mind that moved my son into action.   We then gave him an English/Arabic new testament, a tract entitled “Jesus and the Quran”, and some other literature by the Crescent Project (an outstanding ministry dedicated to sharing the faith with our Muslim neighbors) just in case he were to see her again. 

Day 4: Tuesday, September 11th, 2012:

Going through my email that morning, I notice an email update from the Crescent Project.  Though I only open such emails on rare occasions, I decide to open it that day and as soon as I do, guess what verse is staring nonchalantly back at me?  2 Timothy 1:7.  

“God has not given us the spirit of intimidation. Pray for Christ to plant deeply within you a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind when you think of and interact with Muslims (2 Timothy 1:7).”

The content of the email was also posted on Crescent Project’s blog.  

Day 5: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

That afternoon, while we in the drive through at McDonald’s after our homeschool co-op class, I told the girls that when they think of something nice about someone else, they should go ahead and tell that person, because it is encouraging, and the Lord wants us to be encouraging to others.   My 5-year-old responded, “But I’m shy”. 

And so the verse became fitting once again, “Oh, no, sweet Bekkah, you aren’t shy!  That is a lie you are believing about yourself.  Always remember, sweet girl, you are a child of God because you accepted Christ’s free gift of salvation!  That means you have the Spirit of God living inside you, and God gave you a Spirit not of timidity (NIV), but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline!  Bekkah, you can encourage others because you have God’s Spirit living inside you! 

Then, later that same day….

It was our first night for our church’s Wednesday night program and it was amazing!  I am a newbie ‘Table Leader’ along with a friend and my 14-yr-old daughter.  We are responsible to encourage a table of second graders in the faith every Wednesday (one being my 7-yr-old daughter).  I considered that the Lord might bless us with yet another instance of this verse so when the song leader introduced the new song to the group, telling us that it was from “Second Tim…”  I anticipated what was coming next.  Second Timothy one verse seven.  I know Christ was in that room that night, with all those dear children, I know His Spirit was powerfully present.  I uploaded the song, lovingly sung by our song leader;  please rejoice with me as you hear this promise of God put to music…

 Day 6: Thursday,  September 13th, 2012

My 14-yr-old daughter went to a special event her school organized, in a town about an hour away.   Guess what verse one of the speakers quoted while addressing the kids?  You got it.  2 Timothy 1:7.  She came home and excitedly told us about it; she even anticipated hearing the verse that day simply because God brought it up 5 days in a row already, why not once more?  After she told me about her experience, I jested that perhaps this would be the last day, since God rested on the seventh.  And apparently that is what God had in mind, because this is the end of my testimony.

——–

Why did our family hear that verse 6 days in a row, each time at an unrelated event by unrelated people?  Why did God graciously move in this way?  All 6 of us recognized the hand of God; it was no coincidence. 

I imagine the answer to that why is unique to each one of us, and now also to you, dear reader.  God speaks through His word “for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16.  Without the speaking of the word, without the hearing of the word, without faith to receive the word, I would have nothing to testify now.   

Whenever the word is opened, we must listen carefully; God is speaking, and the significance of His message is unique to each of us.  We must each ask ‘what are you saying to me, God?’.  I don’t know how God will use 2 Tim 1:7 in the lives of my children or my husband, or in your life right now, but God knows, and He has said, “Ask and it will be given to you.” Mat 7:7a

I understand the week to be a sweet answer to prayer.  For months now I’ve been praying that our home would abound in prayer and in praise; that we would be distinguished by the continual praise on our lips.  I pray that our knee-jerk reaction in any kind of trial would be prayer, and then praise.  And that our reaction to blessing would be immediate praise, that joy would fill our home for the glory of God. 

Now there is much to battle since Satan knows the power of joy and so loves to steal it by telling us that we have a right to the blessings, and that the hardships are meaningless.  Our vision is often clouded by these lies and so the joy of the Lord is not always evident in our home. 

But while we are often unfaithful, God is always faithful.  God graciously chose to make Himself evident to each of us during our 2 Timothy 1:7 week.  “If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”  2 Timothy 2:13   Indeed, He is a prayer-hearing God, close to us and within reach, who speaks to us out of His holy word.  How thrilling!  What love is this?  God: our maker, sustainer, and redeemer, is also our friend who listens and speaks?  Oh, what undeserving joy!  So, firstly, before asking what significance that verse holds for our family, might we linger long in joy and astonishment that God concerns Himself with sinners like us. 

The significance of the verse?  Oh, right, that.   I haven’t really been meditating on that yet because I’ve been just kind of wading in the goodness of God.  Perhaps the most significant significance is simply that.  Thank you, Lord, for printing that verse on our hearts; I know the significance of that imprinting will be applied time and time again by each of us, and by you, dear reader, as we continue to follow Him into eternity.

———

Okay, been meditating on the significance of the verse.  As stated above, the application of 2 Timothy 1:7 will be different for different believers; each of us should ask the Lord individually how best to apply this verse in each of our own lives.  As for me, the Lord seems to be weaving the following message into my heart:

Not a spirit of fear, but one of power, of love, and of a sound mind.  When I act, react, or not act at all out of fear, I lack faith; I do not believe God’s promise, I do not believe the truth of 2 Timothy 1:7, that I have the Holy Spirit deposited within me.  And the Holy Spirit is one of power, of love, and of a sound mind.  I must continually ask myself what is motivating me to action, I must ask the Lord in prayer to show me which path I am taking in different situations, am I walking down a path of fear, or one of faith? 

When my kids wake up scared in the middle of the night I tell them how I handle my own fears.  Basically, I think of the worst thing that could happen, and that can get pretty ugly.  Once I have that in my mind, I then give it over to God, trusting that if my fear were to happen, God would have a plan to make it good, even if I never saw that goodness until I got to heaven. 

And God would not only have a plan to make it good, as I trusted Him, I would grow in my faith by the trial (James 1:2-4), and be the better for it even here on earth.  And, on top of all that, God would also be glorified through the trial, which is my purpose while I still have breath. 

Faith is something substantial; built upon God’s promises, faith empowers and enlightens.  Fear has no substance, it is a bottomless pit, it is the lack of faith.  An old friend of mine has taken up a mental exercise while going through her day asking herself if she is choosing faith, or fear.  This is a noble pursuit; I can testify that the few times I have tried this exercise for myself has produced powerful effects. (I sound like a commercial).  

WARNING: Honestly asking if your motivation to do little things throughout your day stems from faith or fear can drastically change your life.  Little things you might do without thinking suddenly become a trial of sorts.  Wait, why am I doing this, or why aren’t I doing this?  Isn’t it really just out of fear?  If it is not out of faith, it must be fear.  Fear of what?  Oh, right, I’m afraid of __________(couldn’t possibly list all the fill-in-the-blank fears because the list is a bottomless pit).  Am I willing to give that fear to God, trusting Him through whatever consequence that might follow?  And you’re suddenly faced with all kinds of trials. 

But don’t retreat, you that are the redeemed of Christ, you who are invited to share in the wedding supper of the Lamb.  Stand your ground, you who will one day wear the “fine linen, bright and clean” Rev 19:8a.  Remember Revelation 19, recall who it is that wins and stay on His side, and turn now to hope and prayer. 

And my earnest prayer about the ‘little thing’ not only helps in coming to an honest answer, but also provides the strength necessary to follow through in faith.  Today, as I do each little thing, might I apply 2 Timothy 1:7 by asking this question to the King of kings and Lord of lords, in prayer, “am I acting, reacting, or not acting out of faith, believing You have given me a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, or is it actually fear that motivates me?”  “Ask and it will be given to you.” Mat 7:7a

1 Comment

  • Thank you! I know how God wants to apply this to me.

So, what do you think?