For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
From the moment we are born we are taught to fear. Fear heights, fear strangers, fear failure… the list goes on. Is this wrong? Surely it is good for us to be cautious and aware about height, strangers, etc.? In the movie Chasing Mavericks the mentor character has a quote. It goes something along the lines of this: ‘Fear is healthy, panic is not’. You see, in the movie, the main character had just come upon a shark when swimming… and he panicked. (Which in my opinion is understandable). Now, I don’t agree… exactly with the mentor’s statement, but maybe that is because there are two main definitions of fear. There is the crippling, destructive fear… and then there is maybe a form of ‘fear’ that is a good thing, a God-given healthy ‘fear’ of things. In that case, I think maybe it should be called something else. The difference is that this kind of ‘fear’ is not controlling. We were not meant to live in fear, but in freedom. In God’s care, love, and light. Sin came into the world and gave birth to fear. Anyway, back to the real theme of this article: battling that crippling fear, that wrong fear, that one that keep us from God’s best, and particularly the fears of the mind.
I’m going to split this verse’s dissection into three parts: power, love, and self-discipline. However, let’s do it out of order, why not?
Okay, so self-discipline is the word that the NIV version of the Bible uses, and I really like that! However, a few other versions instead use the word ‘sound mind’. I think that each are equally important in defeating the fears of the mind. For fear, I think, is often very much stuff our mind comes up with without it actually being a reality. Satan takes things that are true and twists them and magnifies them until they appear to be these huge monsters that we can never escape and that overshadow everything. But that is wrong! God is the only One who truly covers everything, ses everything, knows everything, and controls everything. He is the only One we should fear. The truth is that in God and in His power, we can choose to overcome the fear, whatever it is. We can choose to defeat the fear. God has given us a sound mind and self-discipline! We have the authority and power to defeat the fear. Whatever it is.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (NIV)
In God, and only in Him, we have the power over fear. Fear looks miniscule in view of God’s almighty power and authority! His power doesn’t depend on us either, even when we are utterly weak and stuck in the grip of fear. If we turn to God, He will free us from those chains and from the fear. In Him.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you. 2 Corinthians 13:4 (NIV)
In God we are free and forgiven. We don’t have to fear evil, we don’t have to fear punishment, we don’t have to fear death because we are His and will go to Heaven! (1 Cor 15:5) If God is in us and for us, there should be no room for fear in our minds and hearts! And God, who is in us, is love. (1 John 4:8).
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:18 (NIV)
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 (NIV