“God has not given us a spirit of timidity [fear], but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
The true follower of Christ has no reason to fear potential sufferings and trials.
Concerning frustration and fear at the 1992 Winter Olympics, speed skater Dan Jansen said, “What happened was I skated a race that I can only describe as tentative. I looked good. I didn’t slip. Yet something kept me from going flat out.” The favored Jansen, haunted by well-publicized failures to win medals in 1988 or 1992, finally overcame his fear and triumphed in 1994 in the 1,000-meter speed-skating event.
Believers’ can also react with intense fear and painful disappointment to life’s trials if they are not prepared for the possibility of difficulties. But many centuries ago Proverbs 29:25 encouraged God’s followers not to be afraid: “The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” Paul exhorted Timothy in a similar way when he wrote the words of today’s verse.
In Matthew 10:29-31, the Lord Jesus provides a wonderful reason for His disciples not to serve Him under a cloud of fear. The point of His commonsense illustration is simple. If the Father cares for small birds and numbers each hair on our heads, He is certainly concerned about our physical and spiritual welfare and the ultimate good of our souls. No matter how bad the situation is or how prolonged the trial may seem, God is able to sustain us.
Later Jesus provided an excellent summary of His teaching on fear with these familiar words to the Twelve: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). With such a strong promise and reassurance that the Holy Spirit will always be present, how can any of us who profess Jesus Christ make room for debilitating fear, no matter what tough tests and persecutions may yet face us?
Suggestions for Prayer
If you have a particular situation or person in your life that causes you much fear and anxiety, pray that God would strengthen you and remove the cause of that fear.
For Further Study
Read Psalm 118:5-9. Memorize verse 6 or another one in this brief passage that will be a helpful resource should you face persecution.
From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997