No Cowards In This Kingdom
Last month Stephanie Decker, made a decision that would change her life forever. While getting her children ready for school one morning, a tornado suddenly touched down near her Indiana home. Rushing her two young sons to the basement, Stephanie barely had time to seek cover before the house’s windows shattered. It was during that terrifying moment that she made the split-second decision to protect her children. Stephanie wrapped both of her children in a heavy blanket and threw her body on top of them to shield them from the storm. As the storm worsened, all kinds of furniture, and wooden beams struck Stephanie as she covered her children. When the tornado subsided, Stephanie had suffered massive damage to her legs and would later have both of them partially amputated. Amazingly neither of her children experienced any injuries thanks to their mother’s bravery in the face of death.
Unlike Stephanie, many people freeze in a moment of panic such as this. Often when we’re faced with an intimidating situation our fear paralyzes us, and we do absolutely nothing. This is the very problem that Timothy faced in Ephesus. There were all sorts of powerful men in the church teaching things that clearly violated the Christian doctrines that God put into place. Was Timothy standing up to them? Was he rebuking them for introducing heresy in the church? Actually, Timothy was so paralyzed with fear that he was doing absolutely nothing to stop these false teachers. Paul recognized the immediate spiritual danger for the Ephesian church and admonishes Timothy:
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Just like Timothy, we continually find people infiltrating the Lord’s church who are more interested in pushing their own agendas than the promoting God’s “house-laws” (cf. 1 Tim. 1:3-4). Many of them are highly educated. Many of them have power, wealth, and authority. It can be very frightening to stand up to a man/woman of prominence who opposes true biblical teaching. However, it is completely unacceptable for us to allow fear to overwhelm us and do nothing. In this verse Paul gives us a three attributes that will help us overcome fear every time.
“Power” indicates that God has equipped Timothy with something that is more than sufficient to get the job done. Just like Timothy we are equipped with God’s inspired word. All the power we will ever need to destroy false-teaching in its tracks, is found in the Bible. Are you able to access that power? Only when you familiarize yourself with God’s word, so that it becomes like one of your appendages, can you unleash that powerful tool (cf. James 1:21).
“Love” in this verse is not referring to a “feeling” or something “emotional” at all. This type of love is self-sacrificing, and it puts the needs of others above your own. This is the type of love that moved Stephanie Decker to use her own body as a shield for her children in that tornado. If you truly love God, if you truly love God’s church then you will never allow fear to overcome you when faced false teaching that will hurt the church.
The word “discipline” has the idea of mastering your thinking. Ask yourself, “Is it logical to cower to men or to God?” Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” (Matthew 10:28). Disciplined Christians have trained their minds to respond properly when people try to introduce error into Christianity.
If we are part of God’s body, there is no reason to be afraid of those who try to distort the truth. We have all the power we need in God’s word. If we truly love God, and have disciplined our minds to know how God wants us to respond, we will be ready to defend the truth. We must never fear change-agents. Instead, they should be afraid to twist God’s word, knowing that they cannot win a fight against God and His church.