We must defy a spiritually dead culture and not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord: not because we hate the world, but because we love our God, and we love them. Do we love them enough to suffer for them? Even if we are chained up like criminals, the word of God is not bound (2 Timothy 2:9) A.W. Tozer once said, “A fearful world needs a fearless church.” The more the world hates the gospel, the more it needs us to preach it.
God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7
It seems many professing Christians live in fear of the world’s disapproval. This fear not only appears to be true of many churchgoers, but it also seems true of many church leaders. This is one reason why, in today’s cultural climate, many churches seem to have little to offer. They have set their focus more on growing their organization than fulfilling their holy calling. They are called to honor God and preach the word, but instead, they measure their success by the fickle approval of man. This causes them to flinch when the world is displeased. It will also cause them to back down from the word of God when it does not help them meet their goals.
This tendency to shrink back is why Paul reminds Timothy that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power (2 Timothy 1:7). Paul was nearing the end of his ministry, he was in jail, and he was about to face the death penalty. Timothy knew this, and he was tempted to shrink back from his calling. Being able to stand for the gospel against cultural pressure is not something we can do in our strength. It requires a spirit of power that can only come from God.
American Evangelicalism is ill. As the secularization of our nation grows more potent, it appears fewer and fewer professing Christians are up for the challenge. This loss of courage is why we need to hear Paul’s words afresh. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power.