2 Timothy 1:7
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Have you ever been afraid to tell others about Jesus? Well, you’re not the only one. It seems as though one of the biggest reasons, if not the biggest reason why Christians do not witness to others is because of fear.
I would like to point out some interesting truths that can help us understand why fear keeps us from doing what we should. 2 Timothy 1:7 gives us a wonderful promise that God doesn’t give us fear but power, love and a sound mind. I want you to notice, though, that if you take the opposites of power, love, and a sound mind, you get three results of fear that are really three reactions that most Christians have when they are afraid of witnessing.
The opposite of power is weakness. The word for power in this passage could be accurately translated as “ability” as in Acts 1:8 when it says, “But ye shall receive power…and ye shall be witnesses…” When we depend upon Him, God gives us the ability (power) to do what we need to do in witnessing to the lost around us. The opposite of that then is weakness and inability. Have you ever felt unable to witness, or, perhaps, intimidated to witness to lost people? That’s a result of fear.
The opposite of love here in this passage is not hate, it is selfishness. The love mentioned here is agape, that love that gives for others. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” This type of love is a sacrificial type of love that eliminates all self. When we are willing to pass by those we know that need Christ, then we are being so selfish, which is a result of fear.
The opposite of a sound mind is a mind that is out of control, or another word we might use is “crazy.” When you were scared of something, has your mind ever played tricks on you? For instance, if you are afraid of heights, have you ever noticed how silly it is to be so? Have you ever had a similar experience when witnessing to someone? You could give them a gospel witness but, because of fear, you fail to do so and you pass up that opportunity. During the decision process you will find numerous excuses not to witness (none being legitimate) and just simply walk away. This is having an unsound mind as a result of fear.
Let’s look now at what we need to do in order to eliminate this fear from our hearts. First, we need to just speak out. 2 Timothy 1:8 – “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…” Speak out! Sometimes the best way to eliminate fear is just to start speaking with someone. Many times people are not all that bad to talk to and many times will listen if we do tell them about Christ. I have found that the best way to get over the fear of sharing the gospel is to just do it. You will find that the more you do it the easier it gets and the better you get at it. Another thing to take into consideration is that the more people you tell, the more people will get saved. Also, you do want to remember that you are trying to win people to Christ and snatch them from the pit of Hell. You are not just trying to sow seed but actually reap a harvest. So, share the gospel.
The second way to overcome fear is to support our spiritual leaders. 2 Timothy 1:8 says, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:” The Apostle Paul says to not be afraid and not be ashamed of him and his ministry. How many times have we not supported our spiritual leaders in their endeavor to get out the gospel and then end up not doing it ourselves? We are seeing major problems with authority in fundamental churches today. Christians do not want to place themselves under the authority of the pastor and as a result they don’t witness for Christ. God wants us to support our leaders and this will give us stability and help in winning souls for Christ. Think about it. How many churches that are in rebellion against their pastor are winning souls? When you take yourself out from under the umbrella of authority, you leave yourself vulnerable to attack and defeat. God cannot use people who are disobedient to authority, and so the lost suffer. The pastor that leads his flock to win souls is wise. Also, the flock that supports and follows their pastor in winning souls is wise. They go together.
Thirdly, if you want to overcome your fear of witnessing, expect persecution. Verse 8 says, “…But be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” One way to handle persecution when it comes is to be ready for it. The Bible says that if we do right, we are to expect persecution, or opposition to the gospel. Don’t be surprised when it happens. The devil will try to discourage anyone who tries to witness by stirring someone’s heart to lash out in anger at the one sharing the good news. Jesus told us that if people hate Him, then they will most certainly hate us. However, we have to realize that this is not cause for quitting and not sharing the gospel. This is a way to overcome fear. In fact, it’s a good thing to be persecuted. Matthew 5:11-12 says, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Don’t let the persecution stop you.
Fourthly, to overcome your fear you need to know Christ in an intimate, personal way. 2 Timothy 1:12 says, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” I am convinced that we are full of fear because we don’t know Christ as we should. This word implies that it is not just a general knowledge, but also a personal relationship that puts him in that position of “knowing” Christ.
Finally, you can overcome fear by loving Christ. 2 Timothy 1:13 says, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” This type of love is not just affection for Christ; it is a sacrificial love that gives for Him. When we give ourselves for Christ as He gave Himself for us, then we will be successful. When it comes to witnessing, we are so self-focused that we back out because of our selfishness. God wants us to love Him; and when we do, we will surrender and give ourselves for Him to be used as He wishes.
We have a job to do, and that is to win people to Jesus Christ. Let’s be busy about the task God has given us and put aside the sin of fear so we can be effective in winning people to Christ.
Scripture of the day: And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. ~ Mark 16:15
Pastor Peter Okereke Jr.
The Living Word Ministries Inc.
Copyright Reserved, 2012.
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