How to grow from timid to tenacious …

Starting with the boogey-man under the bed, or the monster in the closet, we human beings have grown up scared.

That’s why, as you read through the Bible, you consistently see God saying to us, “Fear not!” and “Be of good courage …”

When we aren’t downright frightened, we tend to be tentative people at best. We hesitate because we fear making the wrong decision or having to face costly consequences.

Few things in our lives limits us more than the fears we entertain and the timid tact we take to living life. We’ve grown up learning how to try to avoid risks and minimize difficult circumstances. There’s a profoundly ugly result to all of this: we make the living out of life more about our circumstances than we do the purpose for our existence.

God wants to fix that.

His fix starts by sharing with us an important truth:

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline,” 2 Timothy 1:7.

Other than our “fear” or reverence for God Himself, any fear we have, and that spirit we entertain of facing life tentatively, does not originate from God. It is important for us to know that, because when we see it and “feel” it, we know something other than God (more often than not, our own irrational thinking) is attempting to influence us in a way God doesn’t intend for us.

But this verse says more. God doesn’t want us to be afraid of life; instead, He has given us power. The Spirit of the very same God who created everything simply by speaking it into existence lives in every disciple of Jesus, and He is willing to apply all of His power to accomplish His will in our lives.

That, my friends, is a source of power unmatched by any other source, or anything the world can throw at us! Therefore, we don’t have to be afraid of having the capacity to face life; we don’t have an adequate capacity on our own, but with God “… everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Power for living is no longer an issue to the disciple. So, then, what about that timidity, fear of making wrong decisions and facing difficult circumstances?

That issue has to be addressed with raw truth, which Jesus spoke eloquently:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.

We are not all-powerful and all-knowing like God. No matter how good our decisions or intentions, we will make mistakes, we will get things wrong, and we will sometimes give in to sin. But Jesus reassures us He is bigger than any troubles we will have, and not only do we find power through Him, He has also given us His love.

When we’ve blown it, when we’re facing troubles, one of the greatest sources of both encouragement and power to get up and keep going is to know we are still loved in spite of what we may have done, or what has been done to us. God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but of power and love.

He’s also given us a full capacity for self-discipline, that ability to gain knowledge, understand it, and apply it wisely to avoid many of the bad decisions we would make otherwise.

We want a life without pain and troubles. Jesus promises we will have troubles. But God says to us don’t be afraid, and don’t live timidly. Instead, He supplies to us His power, encourages and calms us with His love, and enables us to exercise the self-discipline we need to live well.

So what, then, are you still afraid of?