How do we overcome fear in our walk with God? How do we keep from shrinking back? How do we continue growing in The Lord and keep putting ourselves out there to risk, even in the face of rejection and pain? I preached on this today and thought it was worth posting.
Paul encouraged Timothy on such things in 2 Timothy as it seems that Timothy was having a problem with fear and with doubting himself and his ministry.
The context of 2 Timothy 1:3-14 – Put away fear – Be reminded of how you started in the faith – Stir up your gift – Dive into Christ:
3 I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4 As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, 12 which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. 13 Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
A few thoughts in note form (how I often think when I just brainstorming or putting together sermon notes) from this passage on how we can keep growing in Christ and how our faith can overcome our fears:
Remember – Vs. 3-6 – go back and recall your faith – those who influenced you – what you have been taught – what has been entrusted to you – your legacy. We all stand on the shoulders of others who loved us and shared Christ with us. What did you first believe about God? When were you stirred up, on fire, risking everything for Christ? When did you give your life to Him? Dig deep. — When/How did Jesus call you?
Don’t be Afraid or Ashamed of Christ – Vs. 7-8 – what is holding you back in your relationship with Christ? What do you not want to give up? How are you protecting yourself? The beauty is found in the crashing waves, in the storm. Paul says in verse 8 – “but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God” – are you afraid of the suffering? Are you trying to build a life apart from God? Have you stopped believing that He is good, true, and beautiful?
We Are Saved for God’s Purposes – Vs. 9-10 – God saved us and gave us a holy calling. We are set apart, separated for God. We are to forsake sin and the flesh and things of this world and live for Jesus. It is our sin that keeps us afraid and shrinking back – but God calls us beyond that. Lay it down! Our purpose in Christ was declared before the ages began – to be conformed to HIS image and to know Him. We now see what God has called us to in Christ because Jesus has come – He is our guide and example and source of life.
Know Whom You Have Believed – Vs. 11-14 – We have been entrusted with the gospel. There is a good deposit put into us as Christians. We have hope in Christ. No matter what you fear, no matter what comes against you, despite your failings, your past, your sin, or your struggles, Jesus is on the Throne and He is calling you to dive into Him. HE is our source of life and truth and salvation. KNOW HIM. Dive into Him. Do not be afraid.
The beauty is found in the midst of the storm, the crashing waves, the conflict. Embrace what God has for you today. Do not shrink back. Lay down your old life to find your true life.