On Conviction and Fear

 

To Timothy, my beloved child:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Guard the Deposit Entrusted to You

I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us toa holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me. Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you. ~ 2 Timothy 1:1-14 {emphasis mine}

Paul is writing to his protégé, Timothy, encouraging him to stand firm in what He knows about God, what has been taught to him, and passed on to him by those who have raised him, discipled Him and more importantly… to trust the Spirit of God who is at work within Him.

The same Spirit of God who dwells within us and is not only near but very present in every moment.

I was recently approached by someone who loves me and has my best interest in mind about the choices available to us who are raising children. She was filled with genuine concern for not just me but “the people of God.”

In our brief conversation, I got the sense that her concern was driven mostly by fear.  Fear of the unknown, or the imagined known of what may or may not happen in the future of our country.

Yet if I were to turn to what reminds me of what is true, I would read:

God is not a God of confusion and certainly not a God of fear.

Paul wrote this letter from prison after he himself endured more than a fair share of suffering, persecution and affliction.  He was reminding his padawan to stand firm and guard what he has been entrusted with and to be a good steward of all God gave him.

Isn’t that what we’re all supposed to do?

God has called me to live my life and raise my family in His ways and yet there are day-to-day choices we must all make that are unique to each of us.

What is true for all of us is penned in these loving words.

Grace, mercy and peace abound from the Father who loves us.

He has given us power, love and a sound mind so our lives and daily decisions would not be motivated by fear.

He is not only near but very present because His spirit and truth dwell within us.

If Paul can write from prison convinced God is able to guard us, protect us, giving us love, grace and mercy for everything entrusted to us until His return…then shouldn’t we also take this to heart?

We cannot judge or hold the world, nor those who don’t hold Jesus and His authoritative word to the same standard as Paul. But if we believe as Paul did, then what we do need then, is to examine is our own conviction.  Are we indeed following the pattern of the sound words we have heard, in faith and love that are in Christ Jesus, or are we following the pattern of the words we hear in the media, or from the mouths of fallible men and women {not excluding this one}?

As was true for Paul and Timothy, our concern should indeed be for the people of God but our greater concern should be for those who are yet to enter into a life giving, restorative and redeemed relationship with Christ. Those who have yet to know Him, who have not tasted and seen that He really is good.

The world is full of fear and dread. The people of God need to hold fast to the truth that it really is going to be okay because for many people we may be the only hope they have to see this truth come to life.  No matter what happens in our schools, in our state, in this country or any other country… this is not our home.

 Our home is where He is and last I checked… Jesus has not vacated the throne.

How do you know when you are being driven by fear?

How do you know when you are standing firm in the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

4 thoughts on “On Conviction and Fear

  1. brenda1mom says:

    Sadly, that’s its easier for me to recognize when I’m being driven by fear then it is to identify when I’m standing firm the Spirit. Being familiar and “comfortable” with the former, I suppose, is
    one reason. But, sleepiness nights, anxietous
    thoughts, doubt and paralyzed in place are tale-tale signs for me.
    I long for the day when the opposite is true! When I’m standing so firm in the confiction of the Holy Spirt that I can’t remember what it’s like to be driven by fear.
    Thank you Suzie, for the reminder that I do have a choice… That I don’t HAVE to be driven by fear!

    • Suzie Lind says:

      Brenda, Thanks for your honest response! I’d have to guess you are in good company as that is likely true for most of us. I know it is for me. Another reminder of why the “let us” verses are so important… We need each other an the Word and Spirit to remind us, over and over.

  2. sabrina says:

    when i see fruit that is pleasing to myself and those that i love most (and hence to my Abba), i know that i am standing firm in the Holy Spirit’s prompting and guidance. when that fruit is no longer pleasing, but has turned brown and stinky to me and those that i love the most, sadly, i know my actions and words are being driven by fear. thank you for this, suzie. it is a reminder to me to keep checking the “freshness” of the fruit of the Spirit in my life. no one likes a rotten piece of fruit.

    • Suzie Lind says:

      No one likes a rotten piece of fruit… so true my friend! I was thinking after reading this too… how sad it is when a good piece of fruit is wasted. So much of what God is doing is often missed by us because we are so caught up in our own heads.

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