1. I’m continuing a new series today – and all six parts are going
to break down just one scripture passage: 2 Timothy 1:7
a. Let’s look at it now. Read
2. The house I grew up had basement with an axe murderer living in it.
a. It had a bunch of nooks and crannies, dark spaces he could hide in. All the lights were bulbs with strings instead of one switch at top of stairs turning them on and off.
So I had to start at far end of basement, run from string to string and then jump
up steps, slam door before he could grab me from behind. I expected to see the axe blade come through door right after I shut it.
b. My heart starts racing just thinking back now.
3. So what was going on there? It wasn’t real, it was just me and a fear created in my mind. But it felt real, like an actual person.
a. Researchers have studied fear, trying to figure out why it seems so powerful; like a force which is outside of us, yet controlling us from within.
The experts say many of our fears are survival instincts passed on to us genetically through the generations.
Running from the axe murderer was programmed into me by sabretooth tigers a million years ago.
b. But the Bible says there’s even more going on.
Paul tells the young pastor he mentors,
Timothy that fear is actually a “spirit.” A supernatural force beyond us yet in us.
The Greek New Testament has two words for ‘Spirit:’ Psuche and pneuma.
1. Both, interestingly, originally meant wind, breath.
2. Psuche, from which we get the words psychology and psyche, means
“soul” while pneuma is usually translated ‘spirit.’
They are used interchangeably. The main difference is that psuche is a life force which is hardwired into each human life. Pneuma is a life force which moves into a human life and makes it home.
This verse – “spirit of fear” uses pnuema.
4. A story from World War 2 not very well-known:
a. Shohoiya Yokowai was a Japanese soldier stationed the island of Guam. When the American forces overran the Japanese lines, he fled into the jungle & found a cave in which he hid, so great was his fear of capture.
He learned that the war was over by reading one of the pamphlets dropped
into the jungle. But he was afraid.
So for 28 years he lived in the cave, coming out only at night to look for roaches & rats & frogs & mangoes on which he survived.
Finally some natives found him & convinced him that it was alright to come out. The war was over.
b. I’ve met many other Shohoiya Yokowai’s. The powerful spirit of fear has them trapped in caves of addiction, avoidance of meaningful relationships, sabotaged happiness, lying and deceit, anger and manipulation of others.
I lived in that cave myself for a good chunk of my life.
I take responsibility for the power I gave my fear, but it was also a set of chains, a slavery, that was spiritual and supernatural – beyond my power to figure out or break free from on my own.
5. Half of scriptures in the Bible which have the words “spirit of” warn of the powerful impact spiritual forces have on human life.
a. The other half speak of the Spirit of God.
b. What’s interesting is that the Bible says the Spirit of God works in the same way as the enslaving spirit does.
It is a supernatural force which moves in, takes over, and controls life – but with a very different result.
Read Isa 11:2, Rom 8:15
c. The enslaving fear keeps you in the cave. The Spirit of God in Christ brings you out
of the cave into the light.
It expands your view, helps you to see new places to go and new ways to be.
You can see and hear wisdom and truth now.
You are in the presence of the fullness of God – and instead of being surrounded by fear you are surrounded by grace, love, and newness of life.
You have a new identity: Fearless!
6. Let me close by saying three important things to you about having the Spirit of God yourself:
a. If you’re here and you believe in God’s message of love and life in the person of Jesus Christ, you already have the Holy Spirit as a gift and inheritance within you.
Having it now if you don’t already simply comes with responding to the movement of God in you drawing you to Christ, your Savior.
b. But it’s possible to follow Christ and still harbor the spirit of fear. God’s Spirit pushes the enslaving spirit out when you start listening to God speaking to you, and start doing what God says.
c. But it’s also possible to think you’re listening to The Spirit’s voice when you’re still listening to the enslaving spirit posing as an imposter God’s Spirit.
So scripture tells you to test the spirits. Don’t just follow every urging blindly.
If you’re back in the cave, you listened to the wrong spirit. If you’re out in the open, it can be scary, but God is with you. You’re free and safe.
o Isaiah 11:2
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
o Romans 8:15
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
o 2 Timothy 1:7
7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.