“God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 

Written by Rev. Brandon Durán

I won’t blame you if you stop reading.

The verse from 2 Timothy is a wonderful blend of beauty and power, conviction and inspiration.  You should simply repeat it as a mantra for your daily prayerful reflection.

“You did not give us a spirit of fear.  You gave us a spirit of power, of love, and of self-control.”

The apostle Paul wrote this encouragement to his protégé Timothy.  Paul was in prison in Rome when he penned this letter and he knew that his young friend was facing difficult days.

Timothy was the leader of his local Christian community, but he wasn’t the only one teaching about Christ.  There were others who were teaching a false gospel.  Their version of Christ was hyper-spiritualized and separated Christianity from the demands of daily life.  In other words, Christianity was a mental exercise with no day-to-day relational or societal applications.  These other teachers were likely older and perhaps more credentialed than Timothy.

Timothy knew he needed to say something.  He knew he needed to speak the truth.  He knew he couldn’t let falsehoods and half-truths take hold in the minds and hearts of the community.  He would have to confront this situation and the purveyors of a polluted gospel.

Timothy knew this and he was scared.

Confronting difficult situations and challenging individuals can be difficult.  Most people like to avoid conflict.  We want people to be happy.  There is a general sense of live-and-let-live or as we experience on island, a “don’t rock the boat” ethos.

But Timothy had a calling.

When we say yes to following the way of Christ, we too are saying yes to a calling.

This calling will inevitably lead to places of risk, trial, tension, and often suffering.  How could it not?  We are following Christ.  Hardship and sacrifice are core to the story of Christ.  And as Jesus said, “The student is not above the teacher.”  If we live our entire lives claiming to follow Christ and our faith never takes us to places of risk and discomfort, then we need to ask ourselves who we really have been following.

Thankfully, the way of Christ doesn’t end with suffering.  And it is for this reason that Paul, and we, can claim with certainty, “God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-discipline.”