Do Not Be Afraid

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For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. — 2 Timothy 1:7

ti·mid·i·ty /təˈmidədē/noun. — lack of courage or confidence

If there’s one thing I see that’s preventing both myself and others from living abundant, fruitful lives in God’s Kingdom, it is timidity.

Because of timidity, we refrain from asking for (or granting) forgiveness
Because of timidity, we avoid necessary, but difficult conversations
Because of timidity, we hold back from getting involved in ministries we’re curious about
Because of timidity, we chicken out of sharing the gospel with those around us
Because of timidity, we fail to issue (or accept) an invitation both to events and to intimacy
Because of timidity, we don’t confront lies by speaking the truth in love

This is just a starter list. You’re well-aware of other ways that fear shows up when you try to follow Jesus with all your heart, mind, soul, & strength.

Living into God’s design requires courage & confidence, and so it’s no surprise that a lack of courage & confidence is one of the greatest obstacles.

God is not unaware of how fear holds us back — eight different times in the Gospel of Matthew, people are told “do not be afraid.”

Left to our own devices, we play it safe. We do the things we know how to do and we avoid things that are new, difficult, awkward, etc.

And all the while, we are subject to one of the strange properties of timidity: it is compounding. It builds upon itself. In other words, we often become embarrassed of our own timidity, which only makes our timidity grow. Do you know what I mean?

So what are we to do if we want to replace our timidity with boldness or determination?

I believe we must hand it over to the Master Gardener. It won’t be enough to try and white-knuckle it. We rely not on our own power, but on His.

So yes, we “face our fear,” but only we do so in order to authentically surrender the fear to the Lord. We ask Him to take it away, just like an unnecessary branch that needs to be pruned. In its place, we trust that God will give us a spirit of power and love and self-discipline, which will bear much fruit.

TODAY’s BLESSING: Today’s topic is a BIG topic. Lord, have mercy! In order to do this work and subject yourself to the pruning shears of the Vine-grower, you will need strength. So, receive this blessing: May you be granted to grace to face your fears without restraint. May the Holy Spirit rise up to meet any shame you have about your fears. And may you, by faith, rely on our amazing God to give you the power, love, and self-discipline you need.

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