June 26, 2023

June 26, 2023

To prevent the frustration of falling behind, which most of us tend to do when following a Bible reading plan, each month of this plan gives you only twenty-five readings. Today we start a few “free days” . We encourage you to catch up on any readings you may have missed this month.

If you have finished the month’s readings, you can use these final days of the month to study the passages that challenged or intrigued you.

Daily Devotion

2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NLT)
6 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

In the day and age we live in, we hear a lot about mental health, and the struggles of the populous to deal with overwhelming emotions of fear, anxiety and depression. These feelings are very real, and are a reality that many struggle with on a daily basis. As we can see from the above text, the Apostle Paul is imploring his protégé Timothy, to understand that he can overcome fear and doubt by stirring up the gift of God’s Spirit which resided within him. Fear, anxiety and depression are emotions that the Church are also subject to experiencing. Unfortunately there is a false idea out there, which tries to perpetuate the narrative that “Christians are excluded” from struggling with emotions such as fear and doubt. Never were we promised that following Jesus would preclude us from emotional distress. The good news, however, is that when we feel those same old emotions trying to strangle away our faith in God, we can recognize them for what they are. We can understand that they did not come from God. As the Apostle Paul tells us, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

The word for fear in Greek, which is used here is dunamis. The translation in the Strong’s Concordance says this; force (literally or figuratively); specifically miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself). I find this definition to be especially significant considering the context behind Paul’s words to Timothy. Without God’s help, it is impossible to overcome crippling and debilitating feelings such as fear and anxiety. Living in and walking through those emotions can be difficult, yet God will help us to overcome them, if we can realize that those feelings aren’t coming from Him.

What God has given us is the dunamis or power to miraculously overcome the spirits and attacks that come against us. It’s His spirit that picks us up. When we realize that our emotions don’t have to be our reality or identity, then we can begin to walk in the power, love and self discipline that comes from Him. He will be a pillar of strength. He will pick us up and carry us. He will be our safety in the storm. This can happen for us when we realize the difference between the spirits of this world and the Spirit of God.

Time spent in His presence/Word helps us gain the spiritual awareness and discernment that will help us hear the differences of tone and message in the voice of the enemy and the voice of God. Feeling and experiencing fear doesn’t make us weak or a failure. That makes us human. We are all open and susceptible to being trapped and ensnared by such emotions. But as believers, we have the opportunity to overcome and get through those times of distress and catastrophe. God waits for us to understand what His spirit can do in our lives. The miraculous power to overcome can be ours, if we will let His love heal our hurts and strengthen our hearts.

Let Paul’s words to Timothy be an encouragement to you. God has given each of us a gift. The gift of His spirit which allows us to walk in power, love and self discipline. Let that gift guide you and encourage you, when fear and anxiety try yet again to come against you. Let that gift work in you and give you the miraculous ability to overcome.

~  Jesse Sanders