2nd Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV). The Apostle Paul had just exhorted Timothy (in verse 6) to “kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you.” I believe we can infer from this that in some measure Timothy had become lax and was not using his spiritual gift to its fullest potential. To put it bluntly, “the FIRE was dying out and needed to be REKINDLED.” As we read through this epistle we see that the faithfulness and fervor that marked the church in earlier days had waned. In short, there was FAILURE on every hand. Paul was in a deep, dark dungeon facing martyrdom at any moment and many had abandoned him as we see in verse 15, “You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me.” In 2:19-20 Paul writes of many who “Names the name of Christ” who were not “departing from iniquity.” They were “vessels to dishonor” that were bringing dishonor to Christ and defiling the churches. So, it was a time of spiritual declension and it would seem that Timothy was discouraged and this affected his service for the Lord. In verse 8 Paul went on to say, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.” This exhortation means that Timothy was in danger of becoming ASHAMED of the gospel and his spiritual father and being AFRAID of the sufferings that he might face if he were to continue to labor in the gospel and identify himself with Paul in prison. In order to encourage Timothy to remain faithful Paul wrote those timely words, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Timothy really needed to hear this and perhaps we do too (for we are also living in a time of great failure in the church and a time where those who labor in the gospel are being persecuted). Let’s take a closer look at this precious verse.

1) “For God has NOT given us a SPIRIT OF FEAR.” The word “fear” could be translated “cowardice” or “timidity.” No believer should be a COWARD no matter how much opposition they face from this wicked and ungodly world of unbelievers. We should NOT shrink from persecution for God has NOT given us the “spirit of FEAR”….

2) “but of POWER.” Paul is reminding Timothy of the GREAT POWER we have been given THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT. Do you recall what Jesus said to His disciples shortly before He ascended to heaven? He told them this, “But you shall receive POWER WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to ME” (Acts 1:8). When the Holy Spirit did come He turned those who had become “cowards who feared men” (see Matthew 26:56, 69-75 and John 20:19) into “bold witnesses for Christ” One beautiful example of this is found in Acts 4:13, “Now when they saw the BOLDNESS OF PETER AND JOHN, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled.” Peter was always quick to point to the Holy Spirit as the source of their POWER (see Acts 2:14-18; 10:44-47).

3) “and of LOVE.” The Holy Spirit not only supplies us with power, but with LOVE! Romans 5:5 declares, “Now hope does not disappoint, because the LOVE OF GOD has been poured in our hearts BY THE HOLY SPIRIT who was given to us.” God’s LOVE will “cast out fear” (see 1st John 4:18) and God’s LOVE will instill in us a love for Him, for the lost, and for other believers. This LOVE will energize us for service no matter the consequences, even if we face going to jail or being martyred for our faith.

4) “and of A SOUND MIND.” The words “a sound mind” can (and should) be translated “self-control.” The Holy Spirit not only gives us POWER and LOVE, but also SELF-CONTROL. It is the last “fruit of the Spirit” mentioned in the nine-fold cluster of fruit in Galatians 5:23. The thought here then is that even though Timothy was facing “adverse circumstances,” the Spirit was given to him so he could maintain “self-control” and not be swept away into the failure of other believers who were not yielding to the Holy Spirit.  (370.1)  (DO)