GOD HATH NOT GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF FEAR
By John C. Carpenter
 
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, wrote to Timothy, whom Paul considered to be his beloved son in Christ, Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim 1:1-10). Holy scriptures teach that there are things that believers in Christ should not fear, and things that they should.
 
STIR UP THE GIFT OF GOD WHICH IS IN THEE
 
The apostle Timothy, whom Paul loved greatly, was apparently having periods of crying, probably due to anxiety, fear, stress, physical and emotional fatigue, dejection, rejection, depression, and affliction, or a combination of these factors. Paul knew that Timothy had encountered affliction and suffering in his ministry (2 Tim 1:8). Additionally, Timothy may have even been struggling with his faith, which happens to most [maybe all] Christians from time to time. As a result of Timothy's struggles, which Paul knew about, Paul greatly desired to see Timothy (2 Tim 1:4), as well as prayed for Timothy night and day (2 Tim 1:3). Paul even tried to provide encouragement by reminding Timothy of his own faith, the familial strength and faith of his grandmother, Lois, and the faith of his mother, Eunice. Furthermore, Paul instructed Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, Jesus Christ, nor of Paul, His prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God (2 Tim1:8), who hath saved us, and called us [all believers in Christ] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Tim 1:9). Lastly, Paul exhorted Timothy to remember and stir up, to rekindle, with faith, strength and determination, the gift of faith and calling which God had given Timothy, because, as Paul explained, God has not given Timothy, nor us, the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:6-7).
 
In verse 7 of our subject verses, the word spirit is translated from the Greek word pneuma, which means current of air, soul, mental disposition, or mind. In essence, pneuma refers to the life force that is in us, that is, our mind, our personality. The word fear is translated from the Greek word deilia, which means timidity, or fear with dread. Fear may also be defined, in a Christian sense, as faithlessness, or a lack of confidence in God the Father's omniscience, omnipotence, and guidance. The word power is translated from the Greek worddunamis, which means ability, abundance, might, power, or strength. Power refers to natural and supernatural explosive forces in life capable of having an impact on someone or something, a force capable of bringing about change. The word love is translated from the Greek word agape, which means affection, benevolence, or charity that is applied in a moral or social sense. The words sound mind are translated from the Greek word sophronismos, which means discipline, self control, sobriety, or correctness. When Paul explained to Timothy that God the Father has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind, he was saying that God has not given us a soul, mental disposition, or personality of anxiety and timidity, but of ability, strength, moral affection and charity, and self control and discipline.
 
THE FEAR OF THE LORD TENDETH TO LIFE
 
There are many things which Christians are not to fear, but the scriptures also teach that there are some things that believers in Christ are to fear: God, authority, and government. One thing Christians are to certainly fear is God himself. Let us examine the scriptures. The psalmist instructs us that fear of and trust in God the Father results in blessing: Ye that fear [morally reverent towards, to be frightened of, to dread the consequences of disobedience] the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron. He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great (Psalms 115:11-13). Likewise, David teaches us that the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them (Psa 103:18). Jesus, Himself, instructed His twelve disciples to: fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear [be alarmed, in fear of, be in awe of] him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Mat 10:28). Fearing God leads to life: The fear of the LORD tendeth to life [revived, nourished, restored, made whole]: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied [fully satisfied, satiated]; he shall not be visited with evil (Pro 19:23). In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death (Pro 14:26-27). Fear and wisdom also go hand in hand, because the scriptures also teach that The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom [skillful with life's issues]: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever (Psa 111:10). The apostle Peter teaches us to Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king (1 Peter 2:17). All people are to fear the Lord because of the might of His hand (Jos 4:24). Our fear of the Lord should keep us from opressing others: Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God. Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety (Lev 25:17-18). God warned Israel [and the rest of us] beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth (Deu 6:12-15). We should not only fear the Lord because of the consequences of not fearing Him, but we should also fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great [miraculous and life giving] things he hath done for you (1 Samuel 12:24). Fearing the Lord results in strength, health, and life: In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones (Proverbs 3:6-8). Holy Scriptures also encourage we sinners to fear God because it results in our well being and magnification:Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well [a good thing resulting in bounty, health, wealth, and prosperity] with them that fear God, which fear before him (Ecc 8:12). God the Father is also merciful to those who fear Him (Luke 1:50). Listen to what God says about the unrighteous, those who do not fear God: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes (Rom 3:10-18). Fearing God is a life and death matter. Referring to Israel's rejection of Christ, the apostle Paul warned gentile believers in Rome to fear God, lest their salvation also be in jeopardy: Boast [ye Gentile believers in Christ] not against the branches [Jews]. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches [Jews] were broken off, that I [as a Gentile] might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith.Be not highminded, but fear [God and His rule]: For if God spared not the natural branches [the Jews], take heed lest he also spare not thee [Gentiles] (Rom 11:18-21). Because of our fear of God, we believers are to submit ourselves to one another (Eph 5:21-24). Because even the nation of Israel could not enter into God's rest from salvation through works because of their lack of faith, and that faith is necessary for salvation (Heb 3:17-4:3), the apostle Paul teaches, Let us therefore fear [God, His wrath, and damnation], lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest [from the works of keeping the law in order to receive salavation], any of you should seem to come short of it (Heb 4:1).
 
Peter taught we are to fear those men who have power over us, as well as God:Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject [become subordinate, submit to] to your masters[rulers, those we are servants of or subject to] with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward (1 Peter 2:17-18). The scriptures teach us that fear of our parents is related to holiness: Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy. Ye shall fear [be fearful of, reverence] every man his mother, and his father, and keep my sabbaths: I am the LORD your God (Lev 19:2-3). Whether from man to God or man to man, respect, fear, and submission to higher authority is God's way and will. Paul explained to the Ephesian believers, Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart (Eph 6:5-6). As Paul explained, God even associates fear with our own salvation: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out [accomplish, finish, perform] your own salvation with fear [alarm, fright, terror] and trembling (Php 2:12). Lastly, the apostle Paul taught Roman believers about the need to be afraid of and to humbly submit to civil and governmental authority, a problem that many in the world find difficult, if not impossible, to do today: Let every soul be subject unto the higherpowers [authority, jurisdiction, superior power, right, strength]. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance [arrangement, institution, will] of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation [punishment for their rebellion]. For rulers [those in position of authority] are not a terror to [those who do lawful and] good works, but to the evil [to those who break the law and do evil]. Wilt thou then not [as you should be] be afraid of the power [of those in authority positions, those in the government]? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid [of the consequences for your disobedience and lawlessness]; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath [the fear of punishment from those in authority and government], but also for conscience sake [because you also know it is the right thing to do, it is God's will and plan]. For for this cause [of respecting and submitting to authority] pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing (Rom 13:1-6).
 
LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED, NEITHER LET IT BE AFRAID
 
In addition to being taught that there are some things they should fear, Christians are also taught in the scriptures there are some things that they should not fear. Fear began in Genesis, with Adam. Scriptures tell us that after Eve was deceived by the serpent, the devil [Gen 3:1-5), both Adam and Eve were disobedient (Gen 3:6), they were both guilty and ashamed of their disobedience before God the Father (Gen 3:7-8), and they both hid themselves from the presence of the Lord (Gen 3:8). Then the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid [afraid, dreadful, fearful, recognize as a terrible thing], because I was naked [to be bare, have everything known, nothing is hidden, and therefore forced to deal subtlety and deceptively]; and I hid [seek isolation or secrecy to avoid fear and guilt] myself (Gen 3:9-10). Adam knew his own disobedience and resulting guilt, and was now afraid of the potential consequences of his disobedience, and of God. Old testament scriptures also teach us, And there was a famine in the land, beside the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines unto Gerar. And the LORD appeared unto him [Isaac], and said, Go not down into Egypt [and seek the advice, help, and deliverance of men and the world]; dwell in the land [go where I send you, do what I tell you] which I shall tell thee of [and do not depend upon the world, but depend upon Me for your advice, help, and deliverance] (Gen 26:1-2). Look what happened next: And the LORD appeared unto him the same night, and said, I am the God of Abraham thy father: fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed for my servant Abraham's sake. And he builded an altar there, and called upon the name of the LORD, and pitched his tent there: and there Isaac's servants digged a well (Gen 26:24-25). When we seek God's advice, will, and direction for our lives and in our trials, as with Isaac, we will also hear God the Father whisper into our ear and heart, fear not, for I am with thee, and will bless thee. We will have nothing to fear.
 
One thing believers in Christ are taught not to fear is evil. The psalmist, David, wrote in a psalm which many are familiar with, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil [natural or moral adversity, distress, bad, trouble, wrong]: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me (Psalm 23:4). Neither should believers fear our enemies or war with our enemies. Again, David wrote The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even [specifically] mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host [a army of enemies] should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear [be afraid, dread, be in reverence of, consider as terrible]: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident (Psalm 27:1-3).
 
We are also taught that we should not fear the hatefulness of men, or the distress which it can cause: I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large [bring freedom and liberty from] place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me (Psa 118:5-7). God did not want Israel to be afraid of nations who Israel thought were stronger than they. God instructed Israel, When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites,seven nations greater and mightier than thou (Deu 7:1), If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible (Deu 7:17-21). When we encounter people or circumstances which appear greater and mightier than we, we should ask God the Father for comfort, strength, and fearlessness, and God shall destroy those people or circumstances we fear, as well.
 
After prophesying His betrayal (John 13:18-26) and death (John 13:33-14:3), the Lord encouraged His disiciples with these words: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart [thoughts, feelings] be troubled [agitated, worried], neither let it be afraid [timid, full of dread, faithless]. Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I (John 14:27-28). Paul instructed believers in Rome that they [and we] should not return to the fear of having to keep the Jewish law in order to receive salvation, because they had received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father (Rom 8:15).
 
The author of the book of Hebrews taught that believers in Christ should not fear man and his violence: Let your conversation [life, behaviors] be without covetousness [greediness, selfishness]; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me (Heb 13:5-6). Regarding those who are evil and would do evil unto us, Peter adds, For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their [those who do evil] terror [threats resulting in fear], neither be troubled (1 Peter 3:10-14). As the apostle John explains, neither is the true believer in Christ to fear death and judgment: Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:17-18).
 
FEAR GOD, AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: FOR THIS IS THE WHOLE DUTY OF MAN
 
Holy scriptures teach us that fear is entangling and paralyzing, but deliverance is found only in the presence and fear of the Lord: The fear [anxiety, frearful trembling] of man bringeth a snare [to become entangled in a noose, ensnared, trapped, no longer free]: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe (Pro 29:25). For example, we should heed the advice with which Moses encouraged the nation of Israel when he said, Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them [men, our enemies, evil men]: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee (Deu 31:6). As a matter of encouragement, David told his son, Solomon,...Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD (1 Chr 28:20). The psalmist encourages us: Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me (Psa 56:2-4). God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee (Isa 41:10-13).
 
Referring to those lacking courage [and to us], God told Isaiah, Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you (Isa 35:3-4).
 
God the Father added, But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west (Isa 43:1-5).
 
Elimination of fear is always accompanied by the presence of God. The way to elimate fear is to include God. After the death of Moses, the servant of the LORD, the LORD spake unto Joshua (Jos 1:1), Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest (Jos 1:9). The psalmist says, The LORD looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth. He fashioneth their hearts alike; he considereth all their works. There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy (Psa 33:13-18); then adds, My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear [revere, be afraid of, dread] him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want [lack, need, impoverishment] to them that fear him (Psa 34:2-9).
 
Regarding our fears, over and over again, the scriptures instruct believers to seek God's presence, and to trust in and fear the Lord: O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield. Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield (Psa 115:9-11).Isaiah encourages us, Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called (Isa 54:2-5).
 
God's presence dispels human anxiety and fear. Do you want to let go of your fears, then grab hold of God. Look what the psalmist says: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, andten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation (Psa 91:1-16). As Jesus was sending His twelve disciples out into the world (Mat 10:5), He instructed His disciples fear not them [men in the world] which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him [God] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell (Mat 10:28). Considered by scholars to have had the greatest wealth, wisdom and power that any man ever had, Solomon summarized his view of life: Let us hear the conclusion [termination, the last word, the consummation] of the whole matter [regarding life]: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man (Ecc 12:13).  AMEN.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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