Because there’s a challenge that I think we all face. Paul wrote to Timothy, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity…” Wait a minute. How could Timothy still be timid? That’s a silly question. Who here doesn’t get timid? We all do! When I said these verses hit home for me, this is what I was talking about. A “spirit of timidity.” I can relate to that. Last Saturday we handed out flyers about our church around town. We didn’t have many people help. Timidity? Even as I walked around with my boys, I found myself hoping people wouldn’t be outside, so I wouldn’t have to talk to them. What a bad attitude! A “spirit of timidity.” Can you relate?
Why are we timid? It’s not because we can’t talk. I know there are a lot of you who like to talk! Why timid? Maybe timid because of shame. “Who am I to be doing this? I know what I’ve done!” Maybe timid because of fear. “What if they don’t like me?” Whatever the reason, you know what timidity feels like. Your heart beats faster. You feel the worry rise in your chest. It’s like your tongue stops working. I know that feeling! But think about this: Who does timidity come from? From God or from the devil? The devil loves timid Christians. But “God did not give us a spirit of timidity.”
So Paul encouraged Timothy again and again, “Do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.” It makes me think of a hymn that says, “Ashamed of Jesus, just as soon, let midnight be ashamed of noon!” Does it make sense for us sinners to be ashamed of our awesome God? No way! That’s why I love this verse: “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” As you grow in your faith in Jesus, God wants to take away that one feeling—timidity—and replace it with three others—power, love, and self-discipline.
There a contemporary Christian song by Jeremy Camp called “Same Power.” The refrain starts like this, “The same power that rose Jesus from the grave, the same power that commands the dead to wake, lives in us.” Have you heard that one? Think about that! The same power that created the world. The same power that calmed storms and walked on water. The same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in you. Is that really true? Yes! The mo-ment you believed in Jesus, the Holy Spirit with the power of God entered into your heart. God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but of power!
Except, what does power do in the hands of sinful people? Have you heard the old say-ing? “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” So God gives us something else too—love. He places in a Christian’s heart compassion and love for others—like Jesus loves us. You know people with lots of power and no love. That’s no good. You know people with lots of love but too timid show it. That’s no good either. God places in you the power of Christ and his resurrection together with the love of Christ and his death for us. Power and love!
And he adds one more: “self-discipline.” How many good intentions have you had that you never carried out? How many times said you were going to go to church more often? Said you were going to read your Bible? God gives you the self-discipline to put your faith in action in your life. To know what is good and right and do it! When you’re too timid to open your mouth, remember, “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” When you’re tempted not to care about that person and his problems, remem-ber “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” When you’re too lazy to do what you know is best, remember “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” That’s what I need to hear!
But here’s what can happen when we start to see God’s blessings in our lives: We can get a big head! Have you ever noticed how often we can go back and forth between timidity and pride? I have to admit that it’s been a source of personal pride that I’ve been a pastor at a bigger church than my brother. Not anymore. His new church has 1500 members. So we have to grow a lot, right now! It’s silly, right? It’s sinful! But I bet you do that too. You find something you can do that someone else can’t, and the pride swells! From timidity to pride just like that!