"For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline." (2 Timothy 1:6-7)Timothy was a wonderful young man who was willing to lay aside his own personal wants and needs to serve the needs of others. In writing to the church at Philippi, Paul had this to say about Timothy and why he was sending him to Philippi, "For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:20-22) Timothy masterfully represented the heart and message of Paul as he also did the heart and message of Jesus. However, Timothy had his weaknesses too. He could be timid and afraid and tended to back down when faced with distractors and those who stood in opposition to himself and to Paul's ministry. Faced with these situations, Timothy could retreat instead of pushing forward. Paul reminds his to not let his gift go dormant through fear and timidity; to not let the aggression of others to oppress him into silence.
Often, we too face fear when confronted by aggressive and disagreeable people, but Paul reminds us that this fear is not from God. God did not create us this way, it's not part of our personality given to us by God. Fear is a spirit; if not a literal spiritual beaning, it is at least a manor of "breath" (spirit and breath being the same word in both Greek and Hebrew). God has not intended us to live our life breathing in and out fear. Rather, in our new life, God has given us a new breath of life, one of love, power, and a sound or disciplined mind. God has given us love that we might see and treat others as God does, power that we might break through any obstacles and the circumstances of life that try to hem us in, and discipline that we might doggedly pursue the course and purpose of life God has assigned us to. Realizing this, it is time to rekindle and stir up the gifts God has given us which we have let go dormant through fear and intimidation. For God has not given us such a spirit.
Additionally, in another place, we can find one more spirit that God has not given us, a spirit of slavery. "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Romans 8:15) This fear here is different then the fear Paul wrote about to Timothy. To Timothy Paul wrote of the fear of man while here he is writing of the fear of God and the fear of His punishment and rejection of us. Some people live their lives seeing God as an exacting master, always ready to point out their faults, to correct them, to judge them, and to condemn them to a life away from God. They see themselves as slaves to God rather than children of God and this perception colors all they feel, think, and do in life. However, this is not the breath of life we have received from God. Just like the spirit of fear, the spirit of slavery is not from God and often this spirit is even more powerful then the spirit of fear for, until we understand that we are children of God, we will never cry out to our Father for help in our time of need. We will never attempt power, love, and discipline until we first understand that we are sons and daughters. Either way, God wants us to shed our old breath of life that we might live by a new breath; a breath of adoption and a breath of power, love and discipline.