Last week, God's word told us to fan into flame our gift of faith. Now, God's word tells us to use the gift of faith we've been given, and use it powerfully. Verse 7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline."
Of course, we have all sorts of reasons not to do that. After all, common sense says to see it before you believe it. Experience tells us to look for the path under our feet before we step out. Business models tell us to have all the questions answered before we act. We'd never be like my kids who will jump down an entire flight of stairs trusting me to catch them. But Jesus says, "Blessed are they who have not seen, but have believed." Our Savior tells us that unless we believe, unless we are ready to jump into his arms like a little child, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven, because then we're trusting in what we can see works instead of living faith in our God.
But, the faith we have is powerful, "not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace" (Verse 9). Yet our own sinfulness and doubt makes us too timid to really trust God, to really make a leap knowing he'll catch us. Failure in the past produces fear and hesitation. It's as if we are making our way down a path we can't see and we inch along, feeling in front of us to make sure the next step on the path is there. We hesitate. We shy away from getting out there and talking to people, to everyone, about our Savior. We feel awkward. Satan uses that timidity to silence our testimony. He uses that fear to prevent us from reaching out to a brother or sister in Christ who isn't taking advantage of regular worship and Bible study to help them fan into flame their gift.
Or maybe that fear prevents you from giving to God's work like you could be, like you should be - and you want to make sure that all of the bills can be paid for the necessities and probably some of the luxuries first. And gifts that are truly a trusting jump into God's providing hands become rare, and instead we keep inching down that path, as if we aren't sure if the path continues, not sure if it is still there. Of course it is there, when God is guiding us down this path. Instead of inching we should be sprinting. Think of how much more ground can be covered by the one who trusts the path.
I'll say it again because God's word says it. We have not been given a spirit of timidity - but of power, of love, and of self-discipline. We have all the power of God on our side - we can run forward in faith. We have the love that knows no bounds surrounding us and shining through us. We live in God's all sufficient grace. Look at verse 10 to see that power and that love: "It has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
Death is destroyed. All its power is gone, because Jesus took ours so that we get eternal life. Living in fear and doubt and timidity should lead us to death. But now, the worst that could happen to us can't happen to us, because Jesus has already taken it all to the cross. And then he rose. He brought our own life and immortality to light through the gospel. Let's live like it.