2 Timothy 1:7 “ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear…”
One of the great spiritual weapons used against the child of God is fear. We are to fear (reverence, worship) the Lord, but are not to be fearful, cowardly, or timid, which is a great sin. “But the fearful…shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death,” Revelation 21:8. Fear is a powerful tool to manipulate people to act against their consciences or to cower from doing right. Paul encouraged Timothy not to cringe in the face of potential persecution, but to boldly serve God and declare the gospel. Fear keeps preachers from preaching the whole counsel of God. Fear keeps Christians from witnessing at work. Fear keeps men from opposing false doctrine and fear of trouble keeps men from doing what they believe to be right. Fear keeps pastors from stepping on the wrong toes and try to make everyone happy in the pews, especially those with power. Fear makes a preacher skip the application of a message and say, “It’s not my job to apply Scripture, that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.”
A young man was called to pastor a church in Kentucky, and his first sermon he preached against drunkenness. The deacon came up to him afterword and said, “I know you are new here, but there are quite a few men who work at the distillery, so you shouldn’t preach on drunkenness.” The next week, he preached on truth telling, and against liars. The deacon said, “About that sermon – we have a few politicians in the church, and they took exception to that sermon.” Frustrated, the young preacher said, “Well then, what CAN I preach about!” The deacon thought for a moment and said, “You can preach against the Mormons. I doubt there is a Mormon within 500 miles of here.”
Paul told Timothy to remember his heritage ( 2 Timothy 1:5-7). Remember God’s good providence in blessing Timothy with a mother and grandmother who loved him enough to read and teach him the Bible. It can be a good tool for spiritual boldness to recall how the Lord saved you, and even what he saved you from and to consider your election. God saved you by his mighty power, not because of good that you have done, but according to His loving mercy. Remembering how God ordained your salvation and brought it to pass can give you boldness for the present day. Be encouraged by Christian fellowship and the prayers of saints. Timothy may have been afraid of persecution, but Paul was praying for him. His dear friend lifted him up before the throne of grace. Timothy was not alone. Timothy was not abandoned. When we become fearful or allow fear to manipulate us, the thought of the church praying for you is a great means of boldness. Yet another reason why you need to be in the regular fellowship of a church.