Often when people think of kids from “broken homes,” their mind goes to an image of a kid with their iPod blasting and hat low over their eyes. The kid’s been hurt and either sinks into depression or rebels against authority because of it. Instead of giving of their lives to others, they constantly drain everyone around them. Do you ever let this stereotype influence your own view of yourself? Thanks to God’s regenerative work in our lives and his abounding love for us, we as Christians don’t have to conform to the low expectations of the world! Even more liberating, we don’t have to conform to our own low expectations for ourselves.
Look at 2 Timothy 1:7. Paul says that we have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control. Think back to that picture of the stereotyped teenager from a broken home. What trait characterizes him? Fear. Fear of being hurt again and fear that he can’t do anything meaningful. Maybe you yourself are characterized by a fear that you are doomed to failure because of your family situation. But if you look closely at the verse written to Timothy from Paul, God is giving you the secret to overcoming these fears.
The wording in 2 Timothy 1:7 implies that power, love, and self-control are the opposites of fear. Strange, isn’t it? If someone were to ask me what I thought was the opposite of fear, I would say right away that it was bravery. Love wouldn’t even cross my mind. Paul could have said “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of bravery,” but he doesn’t. He instead suggests that power, LOVE, and self-control are opposites of fear. Love is the opposite of fear – have you ever thought about that? Connect this verse with 1 John 4:18 which says “perfect love casts out fear.” Start doing something meaningful out of love for others, and your fear has no choice but to go. If you feel like the odds of making an impact are stacked against you, look at what God has to say instead.
God says you have been given a spirit of power and love. You have the tools to make a difference because you are a new creation in Jesus Christ. He will help you put those tools to use. He loves you more than you can imagine, so of course he wants to help you love others, no matter what the world expects of you.