The Church in Ruins (Brief Thoughts On II Timothy), Part 7

Don’t Be Afraid, Don’t Be Ashamed

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but be partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God (II Timothy 1:7-8).

Two of the greatest tools of the enemy, used against Timothy, were “fear” (1:7) and “shame” (1:8). This was brought to the forefront in Timothy’s life because of the situation in which Paul found himself – in prison.

Andre Sneidar has written,

It seems that Timothy may have been intimidated by those who had prestige, power and influence within the arena of religion and politics, and possibly brought pressure to bear against him.

Stuart Allen has written,

The Apostle was now living for the most part in loneliness and rejection. Imprisonment for the truth evidently carried with it a social stigma, and the danger of giving public witness to the religion that was now illicit made the possibility of shame a real one.[1]

The Adversary still uses these – fear and shame, as among his greatest resources. How many believers have been silenced and their lives made ineffectual by these oppressions? These are mental war games from the hand of the adversary (c.f. II Corinthians 10:4-5); but Paul reminds Timothy that he has been given the divine spirit of power and love, and a sound mind:

I thank God … that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy (II Timothy 1:3-4).

For God has not given us the spirit of fearBe not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner … (II Timothy 1:7-8)

That the fear of such intimidation was widespread is evidenced by the following passages:

This you know, that all they which are in Asia are turned away from me (II Timothy 1:15).

For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia (II Timothy 4:10).

At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge (II Timothy 4:16).

Paul’s instruction to Timothy was tender:

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (II Timothy 1:7).”

Timothy may have been on the verge of a “nervous breakdown,” of “losing his mind,” so intense was the pressure upon him; but he did not need a psychologist or psychiatrist to get through this sorrow, timidity, depression and despair. God had already given him all the provision he needed – “a sound mind” (1:7).

(to be continued)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook
© 2001, 2009 Bible Student’s Press

[1]Stuart Allen, Letters From Prison.

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