“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Timothy 1:7
I have this dream in my heart. A dream to see a generation grow to know how to be fearless. A desire to raise my kids as humans who know what it means to live out this verse in 2 Timothy. A passion to help kids, teens and young adults grab on to all that God has for them and run boldly and courageously into their future. It’s a dream, that won’t go away. I feel a real burden that only grown stronger with each passing day.
A couple of months ago, I was talking to one of our regulars at out cafe here at church. He is a lovely gentleman that is a franchisee at one of the retailers next door. It wasn’t a very deep conversation really, just general chit-chat, but he made a comment that stuck with me. He mentioned that he found it difficult to find any space from other people in his work day, so sometimes he comes in for an extra coffee or 2, just to have a break. I joked with him a little about that and said that we would be happy to provide a hiding place for him for a while, to which he replied that his phone had already buzzed 3 times while he had been waiting for his coffee. He then went onto say that his employees couldn’t make decisions without him. He told me that they are so afraid to make a mistake or make the wrong decision that they wouldn’t make any decision without his ok. I was totally floored by that. How has society managed to reach such a point that people are afraid to make decisions on their own, all because they are afraid to make a mistake. My friend commented that he really didn’t mind if that made mistakes – in fact, he seemed to welcome them – as long as people learnt from them…
That evening, while I was preparing dinner, I could not stop thinking about this story. It completely took over my mind. I stood there, looking at my kids, desperately praying that God would help me to teach them to be people who are not controlled by fear, but who know what it means to live by the “spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.” God then challenged me in my spirit… “Why stop there? There is a generation that need to learn this, and a generation that need to re-learn.” In that moment, God planted firmly this dream.
It’s a dream that I know I am unable to do on my own – in fact – I know I can’t do it at all… for starters, I don’t truly know what it means to be fearless. Do you? The whole idea of this living out this dream has the ability to fill me with fear, if I let it. Who am I to think I have any influence to speak into the lives of one person, let alone a whole generation? Who am I to think I have the answers? I am just one person, who is full of doubt and insecurities – I can’t do this.
If we are all completely honest, it is likely that we all wrestle with fear everyday. Fear of rejection; fear of other people’s opinions; fear of failure; fear of success; fear of the unknown; fear of change; fear of stability. Fear may look different for different people, but fear can really be crippling. It can come out of nowhere and at the most inconvenient times, and if we let it, it can cause us to completely give up on what it is we know we need to do. Have you ever noticed that the intensity of fear increases as the necessity of the task we are fearing increases?
Fear doesn’t often accompany the things we WANT to do (unless, of course, you are an adrenalin junkie and like jumping of cliffs or out of planes)? For me, the times fear is most intense is in those moments when I know there is a NEED for me to complete a particular task or assignment. I find that rather interesting. Well… maybe not… If we think about that from a spiritual perspective it really makes total sense.
If we read through the bible, we know that God’s purpose for us is to live in community with Him and with each other; to love Him, love others and point people to Jesus. To show people the amazing, unfailing, relentless love of the God who stopped at nothing to rescue and redeem us and bring us back into relationship with Him. A relationship that we broke in the first place. But we also know from scripture that the enemy (satan) “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10). His sole purpose is to stop us from fulfilling God’s plans for us, to try to tear down the Kingdom of Heaven that God is using us to build. Don’t you think that he will do all he can to stop us before we even start. And one of his most effective ways of doing that would be to fill us with fears and doubts. To whisper lies to us that get us questioning our abilities, our relationships and our dreams, and then plant in us these seeds of fear that can grow and grow and grow if we allow them to.
Fear puts us on the defensive. It shifts our focus. It takes our eyes off Jesus. That’s what the enemy wants. To get us to a point where we aren’t even looking in the right direction. To bring us to a place where we are so consumed with self that we stop functioning.
So the real question is, how do I stop fear in its tracks? How do I live fearlessly?
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:16-19
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Word of God makes it clear. He has given us the way to live a life without fear.
God’s perfect love – shown to us through Christ Jesus.
Because of Jesus; His incredible sacrifice on the cross; His death in place of my own; His victory over death and sin; I don’t have a reason to live in fear. As I grow to know Him more and love Him more, I have less reason to fear. His word says that there is NOTHING than can separate us from His love, and that His love casts out all fear. All I need to do is keep my eyes fixed on Him.
How do we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus?
PRAYER AND PRAISE – my 2 favourite things and our 2 greatest weapons in this spiritual battle we are in!
Pray – talk to God – meet with Him – listen to Him – rest with Him.
Praise – worship Him – sing to Him – thank Him – love Him – give Him glory – declare out loud who He is!
And so – as my dream grows and changes and deepens I know that “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.” (Phillipians 4:13)
Check out these incredible songs that help articulate this message!