For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7
Sometimes, even the most brave and most bold become the most timid. It can happen quickly. It might happen when asked to speak in front of a crowd. It may happen before a high-ranking officer.
For many Christians, it could be when we suddenly have a chance to share the gospel with an unchurched friend.
That’s the spirit of timidity.
It lives inside of us. It’s a cousin to fear. It’s the child of doubt. In matters spiritual, it is the enemy of faith.
Sometimes, it takes special power to do the right thing and special courage to say the right thing. At such times, it requires a special gift from God.
For young man Timothy, this was one of those times.
If we find ourselves being timid about showing our faith in a land with freedom of religion, if we shy away from saying the right thing because we fear we may be laughed at, imagine how Timothy felt when he knew he could be imprisoned for being a Christian.
Yet, fear of jail wasn’t the biggest threat. Instead, Saint Paul warns him against another. Its name was “Shame.”
“So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner” (v.8).
Wasn’t it shameful to be arrested and imprisoned? Not in this case.
The apostle explains that he was appointed by God to share the gospel—and that had consequences. “That is why I am suffering as I am.”
If he had kept quiet about Jesus, he would not be in prison.
“Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day” (v.12).
What did he entrust to Jesus? His life? His faith? His soul?
In return, he received a gift. He described the spirit that God gives to his people: “…a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
Power instead of timidity—that we might expect. Love listed as a replacement for timidity may also not surprise us. But self-discipline? How does self-discipline push aside timidity?
Then we remember. When we lose control of our faith-life, even the bold and brave can become timid.
Discipline gives us that kick in the pants to remind us of who we are, how we should act—and how we should feel.
How about, “God’s own child, I gladly say it! I was baptized into Christ!” (from CWS 737:1)? What about, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
Not embarrassed to reveal faith in the Son of God, my Savior. Not ashamed that he was executed as a criminal.
Never ashamed of Jesus! Not afraid to live for him.
Ashamed of Jesus, that dear Friend On whom my hopes of heaven depend?
No, when I blush, be this my shame, That I no more revere his name.
Ashamed of Jesus? Yes, I may When I’ve no guilt to wash away,
No tear to wipe, no good to crave, No fear to quell, no soul to save.
Till then—nor is my boasting vain—Till then I boast a Savior slain;
And oh, may this my glory be: That Christ is not ashamed of me. Amen.
(Christian Worship 347: 3-5)
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
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