II Timothy 1:7-9a “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling…”
One of Jesus’ most striking characteristics, that we discover when reading the gospels, is His unapologetic yet deeply loving manner of speaking the truth. He taught with conviction, lived out what He preached and was completely undeterred by opposition or rejection. Jesus is the ultimate example of what Paul is talking about in this passage in II Timothy. When we are tempted to lick our wounds or place too much emphasis on what others think of us, Paul reminds us that God has given us a spirit of discipline so that we do not need to succumb to discouragement, fear or self pity.
This passage reminds us that we were saved by God, and “called with a holy calling.” When we are plagued by insecurity or desperate for approval, we are not using the spirit of power, of love and of discipline that is available to us, and we become completely hindered in evangelism. We avoid sharing our faith out of fear and shame, but Paul’s words shake us out of this thinking and remind us that we already possess all of the tools necessary to live out our faith in a way that reaches others with the truth and the love of God.
Jesus did not live in fear of others or their reactions, and God has graciously given us the same spirit. When we realize that the Holy Spirit has provided us with the power to boldly proclaim our faith, the love that enables us to see the lost through His eyes and the discipline to reject the fear of what people might say or think, we can begin to live in the reality that we need not be ashamed and that God can use us in mighty ways to accomplish His purposes.