FFF 11:3 (Mar 1965)
Not Fear but Power
Love And A Sound Mind
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” —2 Timothy 1:7
By nature Timothy was timid and fearful. Such a person is naturally afraid to speak to people and testify. That is why the great Apostle wrote thus to his son in the faith.
These words, written centures ago, can change your whole outlook on life. Do you enter each day with a zest for life — with a joyful optimism and expectancy, or do you spend your days — morose, moody and dejected? Most Christians are living far beneath their capabilities. We take the words of Christ so earnestly, “Without Me, ye can do nothing,” and we stop there, forgetting the words of the Apostle “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Of all the people in the world, the Christian should be the most assured, confident and optimistic — full of faith, hope and holy joy and power. Do we, however, have such a joyous outlook on life? Alas, in many instances we are filled with fear, doubt, dread, discouragement and disappointment. Is this God’s will and mind for us? Assuredly not! Hebrews 12:12 tells us to lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.
Into every life there comes grief, disappointment, trouble, pain, disillusionment. We can be chastened by these things and we can learn and profit by them. But, are we to be overwhelmed by them? God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power. If the Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? If He is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? We should forget the past and its failures, but expect to learn from it. Let us look to the future, so full of hope and fulfilment. Don’t look back! Look forward like the Apostle — forgetting those things that are behind, he reached forth unto those things that are before. His is the philosophy of life we need. We should be filled with a zest for living, with optimism and expectancy.
We must have a goal, an ambition in life. One has said that if we aim at nothing, we are sure to hit it.
Perhaps Paul’s greatest gift was his persistence. He was imprisoned, beaten, persecuted, suffered shipwreck — troubles within and without. What was his attitude? Did he give up in despair, say that all was lost? Did he become morose and moody? Was he introspective, brooding and feeling sorry for himself? (This is the quickest way to become sick physically, morally and mentally.) No, he was a man of courage, of joyful persistence. Had he given up, Christianity might never have spread from the Middle East. He had a goal, a vision, a purpose; he had moral stamina and he succeeded.
When Tommy Douglas of Canada lost a recent election, a reporter put a microphone in his face and asked him if he was now prepared to give up. His reply was, “I bleed a little, I weep a little, and then I get up and fight again.” This is the spirit needed by more Christians.
To a large extent we have power over our own attitudes in life. God has given us the power we need, so that with assurance and purpose of heart we might take hold of it. According to Ephesians 1, the very power which God used when He raised Christ from the dead “is to us-ward.” Do we believe it? If so, of what are we not capable? Throughout the world exploits are being done by people just like ourselves. Why are they not being done by you and me?
In the next twenty-five years, if the Lord tarries, there will be opportunities such as have never existed before — in every phase and sphere of life including Christian work. Are we awake and alert? Do we care to grasp them? We need to be radiant, positive, forward-thinking, confident that the Lord can and will use us.
We cannot always walk on the sunny side of the street. However, we should not allow ourselves to get discouraged. It is possible to rise above the discouragements that would constantly beset us.
Some time ago the writer was travelling to Montreal from Toronto by plane. The day was dark and cloudy; mists and rain depressed the spirits. However, when the plane rose above the clouds, the rain and dark mists were quickly forgotten in the bright sunshine. We can rise above our disappointments and discouragements into the light of the Lord’s presence.
May we take the words of this text literally and enter into a new, optimistic, expectant outlook throughout 1965!