For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

Various manifestations as evidence of the Spirit of God in the life of the believer have been the basis of theological discussion and church controversy since the days of the Apostle Paul. He taught the Corinthian church that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to individuals as God sees fit in order that the earthly body of Christ might be fully equipped to reach the world with the Gospel until His return. However, there is a universal “manifestation” that should be present in the life of every believer. Paul reminded Timothy that, as he would encounter difficulties in ministry, he should know that he need not face opposition in human strength alone.

It should be noted that, while the translators of the verse above chose not to capitalize the “s” in spirit, Paul’s exhortation is reminiscent of the same wording that he uses in 1 Corinthians 2. He said that even though he was “weak and fearful” when he was with them, what they actually witnessed was a supernatural demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s wisdom and power. Such was typical of the Apostle who, though repeatedly facing death, he was best known for his love for the church and his unwillingness to give in to human fear.

There are moments when what should be basic to the Christian life gives way to our own appraisals of ourselves, our shortcomings, or, even worse, what others have said about us. However, 2 Timothy 1:7 is not a promise from God—it is a statement of fact. Fear to live out our faith and reflect Jesus in how we live NEVER comes from God—EVER. (Paul allows us to determine the source on our own.) To the contrary, God has replaced that human fear with the three attributes most widely associated with Jesus Himself. 

There is perhaps no greater truth to have committed to post-it notes and displayed in prominent places as a reminder that power, love, and self-control are not merely self-improvements to which we aspire like losing ten pounds before summer. They are the very building blocks of the abundant life that Jesus came to give all who would follow Him!