"For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God... for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control."
(2 TIMOTHY 1:6-7, ESV)
Timothy was a young man, inexperienced, and naturally timid. Paul knew that pastoring a church would be difficult for him (perhaps even harder than today!), and Timothy would experience spiritual, social, political, and religious opposition. But he doesn’t give a pep talk. He doesn’t tell him to be bold, to be fearless, to be a man, to shake it off. He reminds him that he has everything he needs to fulfill his calling – not by nature, but as a gift from God.
I am sometimes nervous when I think of preaching or teaching or writing. Will I get it right? Will it be well-received? Will I honor God in my efforts? But God doesn’t call us to serve Him in our own strength. And He doesn’t motivate us out of fear of His wrath if and when we fail. He reminds us that His Spirit is in us. He gives us power, not to change people, but to love them. If we show Christ’s self-sacrificing love to all we come into contact with, He will be the One to change them. Wondrously, they will be saved from sin and death into
"PERFECT LOVE DRIVES OUT FEAR, BECAUSE FEAR HAS TO DO WITH PUNISHMENT. THE ONE WHO FEARS IS NOT MADE PERFECT IN LOVE."
(1 JOHN 4:18)