"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)
Nothing would be more incongruous than for a follower of Jesus to be found groveling at the footstool of Caesar. And Paul wanted to make sure that Timothy knew exactly where and how he himself stood as he prepared to enter the High Roman courts -- to be sentenced to death.
Was Paul filled with fear? Was he on the threshold of buckling before the threats of the Roman Emperor? Was he second-guessing his actions, and having regrets about the decisions he had made in following Jesus? NOT IN THE LEAST!
In the face of intimidation he was standing with power, love, and a sound mind. The Message puts the verse this way: "God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible." (2 Timothy 1:7, The Message). His encouragement to Timothy, and to us, is that we can do the same.
Power assures us that we have all that is necessary to triumph, and thereby makes us bold in the face of intimidating circumstances. Love insures that we will use our power in ways that are constructive and redemptive. And a sound mind secures us with clarity in the face of confusion, and marks us with sensibility in times of insanity -- keeping us focused upon the opportune moment for action, and making us decisive when that moment comes.
If you are facing difficulty at work or home, with friends or neighbors who intimidate you, or circumstances that seem to back you down from being who God has gifted and called you to be; and you feel yourself inwardly cowering into silence and passivity -- then this verse is for you. It is packed with power to change you from the inside out.
Stir up your gifts.....you can be what you are meant to be; you can shine like the sun in its race across the sky if you stay within the gifting the Lord has placed in your life. Be who you were created to be -- bold and loving and sensible -- and that will silence the critics and nay-sayers every time!
That is the triumph of a gifted life!