2 Timothy 1:3 I (Paul) am grateful to God—whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did—when I remember you (Timothy) constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 6 For this reason I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; 7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Can you remember a time when you felt alive with the spirit of God? I can. Many times, actually, over the course of many years. There have been times in my life when I’ve experienced a burning fire on the inside, when God has seemed very close indeed.
And I can recall times when God has seemed very far away. The fire that had once burned inside me had become cold and empty. There have been times when I’ve prayed and wondered if anyone was listening. I have doubted my faith, questioned my identity as a child of God.
Faith has its ups and down.
It would seem that, in our passage for today, Paul is writing to Timothy at a time when Timothy was not in a good place spiritually. We know that Timothy was a protege of Paul and that he was a leader in the church at an early age. It’s possible Timothy had lost his confidence and had been wallowing in self-doubt. Perhaps there was a little voice in Timothy’s head saying, “You’re done Timothy. You don’t have what it takes to lead. You’re in WAY over your head. You probably need to just face facts and quit.” Ever heard that voice? I have.
One of the greatest ploys of the evil one is to whisper lies to us in a moment of weakness to see if we’ll accept those lies as the truth.
This, I believe, is what was happening with Timothy. Paul knows this, so Paul refutes the lies with the truth:
7 for God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.
Some of you reading this blog today are in a place similar to Timothy. It’s been a rough time for you and, if you’re honest, you’ve lost some confidence. You wonder if you really have what it takes to meet the challenges ahead of you. Maybe you’re hearing that little voice in your head telling you to face facts and give up already.
If that’s you, the Lord has a word for you today. God did not give you a spirit of cowardice/fear, but a spirit of POWER and LOVE and of SELF-DISCIPLINE. In over your head? Welcome to my world. I’m regularly in over my head – but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the God who loves us, who has claimed us by name and called us his own, will never abandon us or forsake us.
There is no obstacle in your way that our God cannot handle. Period. Let this fact give you peace today dear sister/brother.
Heavenly Father, give us grace to look past our challenges and to see your mighty power instead. Deliver us from fear and doubt, reminding us of that which you have already given to us – love, power, and self-discipline. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.