During praise and worship, one of the songs that my church plays is No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music. It’s really a good song, and the lyrics are inspiring. The chorus to the song is as follows:
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
Some of this really hits home with me. See, I grew up being consumed by fear. This fear affected me in numerous ways:
- I was extremely afraid of the dark.
- I developed an ulcer by the time I was 10.
- I was terrorized by waking-up-screaming nightmares for most of my early life. They began as far back as I can remember and carried well beyond my teen years into my early twenties. They would come like clockwork if I slept alone and slept soberly.
- I couldn’t do anything alone. For example, it took everything in me to run errands by myself. And one of my primary reasons for both going to college and for the college I chose was because that’s where a good portion of my friends were going.
I’ve written about how I became a Christian and the radical change that came over my life when that happened (parts 1, 2, and 3). I was also delivered from fear (though building confidence based on knowing who I am in Christ took time to learn).
In 2 Timothy 1:7, God’s word says:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV)
Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat. The Greek word for fear used in this verse is deilia and it means timidity, fearfulness, cowardice. To be timid is to show a lack of courage or confidence; to be easily frightened.
Power is the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality; the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. The Greek word for power used in this verse is dunamis. The Hayford Bible Handbook defines dunamis as
Dunamis means energy, power, might, great force, great ability, strength. It is sometimes used to describe the powers of the world to come at work upon the earth and divine power overcoming all resistance. (Compare “dynamic”, “dynamite”, and “dynamometer.”) The dunamis in Jesus resulted in dramatic transformations.
Love is an intense feeling of deep affection. The Greek word for love used in 2 Timothy 1:7 is Agape. The Hayford Bible Handbook says this about agape:
A word to which Christianity gave new meaning. Outside of the New Testament, it rarely occurs in existing Greek manuscripts of the period. Agape denotes an undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he does. It is the self-giving love that gives freely without asking anything in return, and does not consider the worth of its object. Agape is more a love by choice than philos, which is a love by chance; and it refers to the will rather than the emotion. Agape describes the unconditional love God has for the world.
I’ve been a Christian for 24 years now, and I’m still blown away by God’s love for me. When I cursed and despised him, he still had love for me and sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. This is the same love that he has for you.
The Greek word for sound mind used in 2 Timothy 1:7 is sophronismos. The Hayford Bible Handbook says this about sophronismos:
A combination of sos, “safe”, and phren, “the mind”: hence, safe-thinking. The word denotes good judgment, disciplined thought patterns, and the ability to understand and make right decisions. It includes the qualities of self-control and self-discipline
As one who was plagued by depressive and suicidal thoughts for most of my early life, the deliverance from that into a sound mind is beyond the words that I can describe. Other translations translate sophronismos as sound judgement (HCSB) and self-discipline (NLT). The Amplified Bible says this:
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity orcowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment andpersonal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].
All throughout the Bible, the message of Joshua 1:9 resonates.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lordyour God is with you wherever you go.” (NKJV)
In fact, in 1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. (NKJV)
For me, what helped me overcome fear was to understand just how much God loved me, to understand his forgiveness for my sins. Just a couple of scriptures on God’s love for you:
You are the apple of His eye
Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings [Ps 17:8 NKJV]
He knows the very numbers of hairs on your head
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. [Matt 10:30 NKJV]
And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. [Luke 12:7 NLT]
You are precious to him
Since you were precious in My sight,
You have been honored,
And I have loved you;
Therefore I will give men for you,
And people for your life. [Is 43:4 NKJV]
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lordyour God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” [Deut 31:6 NKJV]
Nothing can separate you from his love.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shalltribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[a]
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Rom 8:35-39 NKJV]
It is my prayer that if you deal with fear, that God can help you to overcome it. God is our helper. He is our ever-present help in time of need.