Every time I turn around, I see evidence of pride. Do you see it, too? It’s why I chose today’s devotional by my friend, Steve Baker. I pray his thoughts encourage us all!
COURAGE – the strength of heart to face and conquer fear or difficulties
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Scripture Text: 1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:7, 3:1-4:5
It has been said that Timothy had several reasons to be afraid. To begin with Timothy was a companion to Paul and Silas on their missionary journey and witnessed the hardships and persecution they endured. First seeing Paul, as described in Acts 16, as he arrived in town, still bearing the scars and bruises from having been stoned and left for dead may have made Timothy uncomfortable. Then as Timothy traveled with Paul when Paul was beaten and thrown in prison in Philippi must have provoked some anxiety in Timothy’s heart.
Also, Timothy was young. The responsibility of carrying on the work of the Lord for Paul must have been stressful. Not everyone respects a younger person trying to teach them, nor do they want them correcting them when they are wrong. Paul, however, encouraged Timothy not to let others despise his youthfulness. Paul encouraged Timothy in his letters not to be afraid. “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Paul further gives Timothy a charge in the second letter to Timothy saying, “continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of,” and “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom, Preach the Word…”
Timothy may have had a natural tendency to be timid, shy, reserved, or introverted, but to Paul none of that mattered in regard to the calling and work of the Lord. Paul wanted Timothy to understand two things about his natural fear. First, timidity comes from the same source as pride. Our selfish nature wants to promote itself or care for itself. An extroverted person may be arrogant and demanding of their wants, while a timid person draws into seclusion. However, both individuals do so for the same reason, they are protecting their interests in themselves, just in extremely different ways. God has warned against the pitfalls of pride and how it separates us from God’s grace. All individuals, whether extroverted or shy, must learn to trust and depend on God for His provision. Secondly, Paul wanted Timothy to know that God was with him. He need not to be afraid, because God was always going to be right by his side in everything that he went through. Paul knew that first hand and wanted Timothy to find courage in that truth.
What causes you to be afraid? Are you shy? Do you have other fears such as water, heights, or speaking in front of a crowd? Are you allowing these fears to keep you from serving the Lord in any way?
One of the greatest lessons I learned in life was to overcome my fears by facing them. I have always had a fear of heights, so I made myself climb a ladder to do roof work and painting. Because of that I have since been able to ride the gondola across the Royal Gorge in Colorado and do zip-line and rope-course obstacles at youth retreats. I also never learned to swim well. It seems I sink well though. However, by facing that fear of sinking rather than floating, I learned to work as a swimming pool builder and maintenance man for a few years when I was younger. I actually was able to dive into a deep pool to work on the drain without fear. I simply used a pole to help me get back to the top.
- Choose an area of your fears and examine how it might be keeping you back from serving the Lord more fully, then pray together as a family for practical ways in which you might be able to face your fears. If you fear crowds, maybe you could start by going to a shelter and helping serve food to the poor.
Scraping the Plate:
Discuss the passage in Deuteronomy 31 as to why Moses was encouraging the people and Joshua not to be afraid.
Can you think of reasons that they would fear their future? What caused the children of Israel so many problems from this time in history and forward? Did they soon forget that God was with them in such a way that He alone was their provider and God? How does God’s constant presence empower us. How do Christians today have a huge blessing through the Holy Spirit?
Biscuits and Gravy:
When we have great opportunities in front of us, the courage that God provides through our relationship with Him drives us to fulfill those purposes.
Today I posted a devotional from the book Steve Baker wrote, O Taste and See https://shop.celebratekids.com/books/o-taste-and-see-steve-baker/. Each devotional is related to one or more of the core needs I teach and write about often, including in my book, Five to Thrive https://shop.celebratekids.com/books/five-to-thrive/. He has seen their importance and wanted devotionals as another way of helping parents and children meet their needs in healthy ways.
Steve Baker and his wife, Joyce have been two of my thought-leaders for years. Now they’re both Celebrate Kids Associate Speakers and Writers. They work closely together. Steve has served in ministry for almost 40 years. With his heart for discipleship, he has worked as a senior pastor, associate pastor, teacher, coach, and hospice chaplain. Steve has a passion for families, mentoring believers, and discipling parents to walk in this world humbly and boldly as warriors sharing the powerful message of the gospel to all people.