December 4 I Sunday
1 John 3
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” —2 Timothy 1:7
When we read Paul’s second letter to Timothy, some of us may think that it is not too different from Paul’s first letter to Timothy. While 1 Timothy is written to encourage Timothy to remain in the city of Ephesus and address the false teachers and teachings that are pervasive within the Ephesian church, the context and focus of 2 Timothy shift as Paul is nearing the end of his life. Paul’s second letter to Timothy is written five years after the first, about 67 AD, when Paul is held in a dungeon in Rome under Emperor Nero; the Spirit reveals to him that this is the end of the road for his ministry and his life.
When we think of coming to the end of our life and writing a letter to a family member, some of our most important words would be reserved for those moments. Paul is like a father to Timothy and—as a father would exhort his son—it is interesting that Paul’s final words to Timothy are not, “Run for the hills! I want to make sure you are safe, Timothy. I want to make sure you are comfortable.” Paul instead tells Timothy, “…do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me His prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God” (2 Timothy 1:8). Paul tells Timothy to stand firm in his faith and join Paul in suffering for the gospel.
Despite the circumstances that Paul is in, he reminds Timothy, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power…” (2 Timothy 1:7). Paul is telling Timothy not to be afraid because God did not give us a spirit of fear. The Greek word that Paul uses for fear is deilia, which is a powerful word in the Greek. It means “fear, cowardice, worried about yourself over and above one’s faith.” This word is often used in other parts of Scripture with reference to unbelievers.
Paul is reminding Timothy that fear about what is happening in the world is not from God because the Spirit of God does not give us a spirit of fear. Instead, the Spirit of God gives us a spirit of power. The Greek word Paul uses for power is dunamis, which is where we get the word “dynamite” from. In other words, Paul is saying that God has given Timothy miraculous power and ability to face the oncoming persecution. Like Timothy, we are given a spirit of power in the midst of fear. As the psalmist says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1).
Prayer: Lord God, thank You that Your Spirit gives me power and I do not have to fear, even when I face persecution. Help me to live boldly for You.