For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV

We all need a Paul (or a Paulette) in our lives. Someone with sound wisdom and maturity that can sit us down and speak truth to our insecurities. Likewise, we all need to be that voice of affirmation for someone else too. That’s the basis of discipleship: sharpening each other’s faith and building one another up. Paul and Timothy are a showcase example of this sort of mentoring relationship. By the time we read, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear…”, Paul has been in full pep-talk mode for six verses. He’s reminded Timothy of the strong spiritual legacy he comes from (verse 5) and the anointed gift he has in him (verse 6).

After that confidence-boosting preamble, then he says— But listen to me Timothy, make sure you don’t get too big for your britches. Walk the line or you’re out of here! …Wait, what? No, that’s not right. Let’s try again. What he said was— But remember Timothy, you just barely made it into God’s plan so if you have success make sure you don’t enjoy it too much… Nope, that’s not it either.

Actually what he really said was: Don’t be timid Timothy. Don’t shrink back. Don’t hide behind false humility. Don’t get bogged down by self-doubt. Don’t let fear make you small, and in everything you do, go in the power of the Holy Spirit, motivated by the love of Christ Jesus, and stay grounded in wisdom.

We’re not sure who coined the phrase “fear of failure is fear of success,” but it’s got a ring of truth to it that resonates with us. Because, have you ever noticed if the enemy hasn’t succeeded in paralyzing you with trepidation and fear, he’ll settle for boxing you in with timidity? Don’t misunderstand – pride is a struggle. We need godly mentors that will keep us accountable when we get focused on ourselves, but to overcompensate with false humility? That benefits no one.

Instead if we share our talents with the world, we bring God glory. Paul goes on to tell Timothy to “not be ashamed” of the gospel but to proclaim it boldly (verse 8). We should do the same: stirring up our passion and using our gifts, not holding back. After all, God didn’t give you gifts so you would keep them wrapped up. He created you to shine (Matthew 5:15).

Father, thank You for the gifts and passions You’ve given us. You gave them to us for a reason! Give us boldness and free us from timidity and self-doubt so that we can use our talents to share Your love with a hurting world. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.