The REAL Meaning Of 2 Timothy 1:7 (how to not live in fear and timidity)

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For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 

In a world full of challenges, trials, and uncertainty, the meaning of 2 Timothy 1:7 is a powerful reminder that we need. 

There’s no end of things that bring us great fear in this life. But this passage reminds us that God has given us the power to not only face those challenges, but overcome them. 

In this blog post we are going to look at what this incredible verse means and how it applies to your life. I believe if you give this passage a closer look, your life and your faith will be deepened by the power of God’s word. Let’s dive in. 

The Context Of 2 Timothy 

1 and 2 Timothy are written by the Apostle Paul to Timothy. Timothy was a young leader and Paul was his mentor. In these letters Paul offers practical advice and encouragement to Timothy in his ministry. 

2 Timothy is unlike many of the other letters Paul wrote, including 1 Timothy. This one is intensely personal. Timothy is facing a very difficult road ahead of him, and Paul is writing to offer him encouragement and to stay the course. 

In the first four verses of this letter we see Paul rejoice over Timothy’s genuine faith that’s been proven. He even contrasts this to others whose faith is weak. The encouragement for Timothy is to continue in this faith and to not neglect his gifts. 

This is what leads us to 2 Timothy 1:7, which focuses on the use of Timothy’s God-given gifts. Timothy seems to be facing some challenges and while he’s remained strong, he’s likely tempted to pursue an easier path. Paul is encouraging Timothy not to do so. 

The Meaning Of 2 Timothy 1:7 

Now that we know the context we can switch gears and look at the meaning of 2 Timothy 1:7. To do so we are going to break down each of the key parts of this verse to see what it holds for us today. 

For The Spirit God Gave Us… 

In the previous verse (2 Timothy 1:6) Paul tells Timothy to “fan into flame” the gift that God has given him. In other words don’t neglect it. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul is building off this thought. 

Paul here is reminding Timothy of the gift that the spirit of God has given him. Likely he is answering a question that Timothy asked or seeing a potential temptation he could face. 

Regardless, the message here is clear. God has given us a gift. And the expectation is that Timothy, and us today, would put that gift into practice. We aren’t to sit on it, rather we are to fan it into flame. 

Does Not Make Us Timid… 

Paul further explains this gift by contrasting what it isn’t. Christians are often tempted to be timid, to shrink to fear. Paul is reminding Timothy that because he needs not be afraid because he has the spirit of God. 

Fear traps us. It enslaves us. It keeps us from living the life that God has for us. Christians need not be a slave to fear. Not because there’s nothing worthy of our fear. But because our God is bigger than those things.

The meaning of 2 Timothy 1:7 is a reminder to not fear, but to instead: 

But Gives Us Power… 

The spirit of God does not make us timid, rather it gives us power. This isn’t our power or some self-help talk to search within yourself for your own strength. No, we are weak on our own. We have good reason to fear. We have not our power, but God’s power. 

Followers of Jesus have the spirit of God living within them giving us strength and power. We can walk through this life unafraid because we have the power of God on our side. 

Love… 

The spirit of God doesn’t just give us power. It also gives us love. 

Jesus says the world will be able to identify his followers by their love (John 13:35). In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus sums up the entire law into two commandments  —love God and love those around us. (For more check out: What The Greatest Commandment Means)

Love is central to who God is and what we are called to do. Yet this love that we are called to have we are incapable of producing on our own. The spirit of God produces it through us. 

And it’s this love that will not only change our lives, but the lives of those around us. 

And Self-Discipline…

And lastly the spirit of God gives us self-control. 

Many are not only a slave to fear they are a slave to their desires. They think they are free because they can do whatever they want. But they are actually entrapped, controlled by what their flesh wants. 

Followers of Jesus do not need to be a slave to anything. Through the power of God we can break free from the things that once ruled our lives. We don’t need to be tossed around by our impulses; we can live in the freedom God has for us. 

How To Apply 2 Timothy 1:7 To Your Life 

Timothy was facing a tough road ahead of him. He was going to face challenges and be tempted to bail on what God had for him. Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 1:7 were an encouragement to stay the course. Don’t give up. Keep going.

But Timothy wasn’t to do this on his own strength. If he tried he would surely fail. He was to look to God. And the promise is if he does that he will have strength, love, and self-discipline. In other words, God will give him everything he needs to get through whatever is in front of him. 

The same promise is true for you today. I don’t know what’s in front of you, it might be something scary, difficult, uncomfortable, or intimidating. It might seem like it’s impossible to get through. And on your own it very well might be. But with God you can and will. 

The meaning of 2 Timothy 1:7 is to look to God for our strength. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 Paul tells us that in our weakness God is strong. When we admit our own shortcomings and look to God he will sustain us. 

So, how do you apply 2 Timothy 1:7 to your life? Focus on God. Lean into his spirit.

Practically speaking that means that you need to invest time into your relationship with God. Connect with him regularly. Study God’s word. Take prayer walks. Journal. Paint a picture. Lock yourself in your closet and pray. Write your thoughts in your Bible as you read. Go for a drive. Pick up a devotional. Take a hike. Just spend time with God. 

Each of us are uniquely wired and will connect with God in different ways. Find a few ways that you connect with God. Then do it regularly. 

And listen, I get it, you’re busy. But I know of no other way to grow your faith and live out 2 Timothy 1:7 (and others) other than carving out time in your schedule to be with God. 

If you want to live out the meaning of 2 Timothy 1:7 get alone with God and lean into his power, his love, and his self-control. If you do that you will have more than enough to face whatever challenges lay ahead of you. 

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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