Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Desperate for Jesus Women’s Conference with my mom at the church of my youth, Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. This year’s keynote speakers, Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer, spoke about being fearless and godly women.
Moore’s teaching on 2 Timothy was particularly fitting given the current climate in our country. She reminded us that for Christians, time is not going, but coming -- meaning all of time is pointed toward a singular event, the Second Coming of Christ.
Just as Paul reminded Timothy, she reminded us to fan the flames of our gifts, unafraid of obstacles or the local news or whatever challenges we might face, because God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:6-7).
We can boldly go to our jobs, love our neighbors, serve our communities, and worship in our churches because God is not caught off guard about the state of our world. Need a reminder? Read 2 Timothy 3. Paul warns Timothy that the last days would be terrible times, that people would be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, and unholy. Paul details a whole host of behaviors that seem to perfectly characterize the times in which we live.
Yet, even as Timothy faced the sinful men and women of his time , Paul reminded Timothy to keep his head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all of the duties of his ministry (2 Timothy 4: 5).
Paul could encourage Timothy, and he can encourage us. Paul was not naive about the difficulties of being a Christian in a culture that was hostile to his message. He was beaten, stoned, abandoned, imprisoned, went without food or sleep all for the sake of the gospel. Yet, even in the face of unimaginable dangers he persevered for the sake of the gospel, and not only did he persevere, he also wrote half of the New Testament, encouraged a new generation of disciples who would come after him, and took the good news of Jesus Christ to all corners of the world as it existed at the time.
Paul fought the good fight. He encouraged Timothy and encourages us to do the same. As Ms. Beth reminded the ladies at the Desperate for Jesus Conference, our time is too short and our work is too great for us to be fearful.
How will we pass the time until Jesus comes? Will we be like Paul, boasting in our weakness because only through Christ are we made strong? Will we boldly proclaim the good news of Christ to our co-workers, neighbors, and loved ones? Or will we spend our days worrying about things that were never within our control in the first place?
I want to be like Paul and Timothy. So in this current age, I choose to remind myself of the words of another beloved disciple, “There is no fear in love ... but perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).
Kathryn Freeman is Director of Public Policy, Christian Life Commission, Austin, Texas.