Don’t Be Intimidated!
“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelled in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 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 1:1-7; NASB).
Paul had assigned his spiritual son, Timothy, to lead the Ekklesia (the church) in Ephesus. Timothy was a young man at the time, 30-ish. This assignment would have been difficult for anyone, but to a young 30-year-old, it was very challenging. Some background information on Ephesus will be helpful.
“With a population of 250,000, Ephesus was the capital of a Roman province in Asia and was the fourth greatest city in the world, after Rome, Alexandria in Egypt, and Antioch of Syria. Called ‘the mother city of Asia,’ Ephesus was a significant center of trade, located near a harbor at the mouth of the Cayster River in western Asia Minor (Modern-day Turkey). The city lay in a long, fertile valley. Major roads connected Ephesus to all the other significant cities in Asia Minor.
“Ephesus was known for its amphitheater, the largest in the world, designed to hold up to 50,000 spectators. It was also the location of the great temple of Artemis, or Diana built in 550 BC. This temple was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World…Much of the Ephesian industry was related to this temple. Craftsmen sold shrines and household images of the goddess that worshipers could take with them on long journeys. The Ephesians were very proud of their religious heritage (Acts 19:35).”(1)
Ephesus became Paul’s headquarters for two years after he planted the church there (Acts 19:10). A short time later, he assigned Timothy the responsibility of overseeing this church. This was not one building or congregation, as we would picture it today, but the entire body of Christ in Ephesus.
Various significant events in Scripture took place at Ephesus over a 35-year time period. I will not read these, but am including them in the written version
for those who are interested:
“God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, such that even handkerchiefs and aprons touched by him healed sickness and cast out demons (Acts 19:11).
Paul wrote the epistle of 1 Corinthians while there.
The seven sons of Sceva, Jewish exorcists, attempted to imitate Paul’s power and were attacked by demons because the demons did not recognize their spiritual authority (Acts 19:13–16).
Many new believers ‘who had practiced magic arts brought their books and burned them in front of everyone’ (Acts 19:19; BSB). The total value of the sorcery books they destroyed was 50,000 silver pieces. [Each piece of silver, probably Greek drachmas, was the equivalent of a day’s wages.]
Priscilla and Aquilla discipled Apollos there (Acts 18:24–26).
Timothy had his first pastorate there (1 Timothy 1:3).
It’s thought that the apostle John and Jesus’ mother, Mary, lived in Ephesus after Jesus returned to heaven (see John 19:26–27).
Paul may have faced wild beasts in the amphitheater (1 Corinthians 15:32).
Jesus directed to Ephesus one of His seven letters in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:1–7).”(2)
The book of Revelation was written in AD 96, thirty years after Paul’s letter to Timothy. In this letter to the church at Ephesus, Jesus commended them for their hard work, perseverance, rejection of false teaching, endurance, and hatred of sin (Revelation 2:2-3). He also rebuked them, however, saying, “You have left your first love” (Revelation 2:4). The believers at Ephesus, struggling beneath the weight of a godless and immoral culture, had maintained commendable outward religious activities, but internally they had lost their passion for Christ.
It is easy to see how intimidating it could be for a young man in his early 30s to be charged with overseeing this great work in such an influential, but very ungodly, city. Timothy was no doubt very mature for his age, having been raised by a godly mother and grandmother, and mentored by Paul while traveling with him on his journeys. Paul would not have placed him there had he not been confident Timothy could fulfill this assignment. Nevertheless, it was extremely difficult and had begun to take its toll on this young man. Persecution, false teachers, the city being an international hub of sorcery and witchcraft, great immorality, strife in the church - exacerbated by disrespect from older men because of his young age - these pressures and more were wearing Timothy down. He was discouraged and intimidated.
Paul knew that before he left for heaven, Timothy needed further instruction and encouragement from him as his spiritual father. Thus, a second letter was written to Timothy - the last letter Paul would write before his martyrdom. He began with the important words shared in our opening. I want to summarize them for you.
Paul begins by affirming his love for Timothy as a spiritual son and speaks a blessing of grace, mercy, and peace to him (v. 2). This is more than a formality; he knows his words carry life and power. Paul then assures Timothy that he is praying diligently for him - night and day (v. 3). Again, Paul is confident his prayers will make a difference. Then he states his confidence in Timothy: “I know the faith that is in you, imparted from your grandmother and mother, and also the gift I imparted to you through the laying on of my hands” (v. 5-6). Paul was encouraging Timothy. “You can do this!” was the meaning of these words.
Then this wise, apostolic spiritual father became stronger in his exhortation. “Now, I’m instructing you, Timothy, to stir up (KJV), kindle afresh (NAS) the gift I put in you!” (v. 6). Notice: God would not do this for him, nor would Paul. Timothy would have to do it!
The Greek word used for “stir up,” anazopureo,(3) is challenging to translate. Only used this one time in the New Testament, it is made of 3 different Greek words. Ana(4) means “again;” zo(5) is a shortened version of zoe, the “life” of God, and pureo(6) is from pur, meaning “fire or lightning.” Paul was telling Timothy, “I know what is in you, because I put it there by the power of Holy Spirit. Now I need for you to rise up and fan the flame, blow on the embers. Get the life flowing, the fire burning, again!” This is a very strong exhortation.
The verb tense of this word indicates continuous or repeated action: “You will need to do this repeatedly, continuously, Timothy. One time won’t be adequate. I need you to really press into this! With the faith in you, speak life and fire into your gifts. Make them come alive and burn with passion. YOU do this! God’s power (dunamis),(7) His love (agape),(8) discipline, self-control, and soundness of mind (sophronismos)(9) were also given to you. Get these forces working in you again (v.7).
Then Paul adds one more thing, reminding Timothy of what he had NOT been given: “God has not given us a spirit of timidity” (v. 7). Though some translations say “fear” instead of “timidity,” the Greek word is deilia,(10) not phobos.(11) Phobos would mean a phobia or fear. Paul knew Timothy wasn’t dealing with that type of fear, but with intimidation. You can easily see that the words timid, timidity, and intimidation are all related.
“Satan is intimidating you, son,” Paul was stating, “telling you you’re too young, you don’t have faith, your gifts aren’t adequate for this job, the warfare is too great…This has brought intimidation and timidity, eroding your confidence and causing your fire and passion to wane. You’re not walking in the power of God’s life in you. But these are all lies. You are NOT weak, timid, or insecure. You’re strong! Gifted! Full of faith! And well able to do this.”
This Is A Word For Us
As God’s remnant prayer army, His emerging Ekklesia, we have been assigned a great challenge. Our nation is facing great evil, incompetent and lying leaders, abhorrent immorality, and much more. Things could get worse before the necessary changes come. In light of this reality, we could easily become discouraged and intimidated, just as Timothy did, doubting our calling and ability to be used by God to heal our land.
My goal and assignment today is to break anything of that nature off of you. We ARE called, equipped, empowered, and anointed for such a time as this. Fan the flames of Holy Spirit fire in you! Command them to burn! Speak to the life of God in you and command it to explode! Stir yourself up in your Holy faith! Reject every demonic lie trying to convince you that the giants of the land are too big!
We are well able to take the land!
Pray with me:
Father, as Your Ekklesia, the church, moves into one of the most critical seasons in America’s history, I pray for the refreshing wind of heaven to blow on them. Re-fill them with Holy Spirit. Give them tenacious hearts and minds in this season, enabling them to fan the flames of passion within.
Remind them of who they are. Remind them that they are filled with Your glorious life. Remind them that they have been called for such a time as this. Remind them that they are more than conquerors through You and Your love. Remind them that Holy Spirit, the Greater One, lives within to help and lead them. Remind them that they can do all things through the exalted Christ indwelling them. Remind them of Your heart to redeem and restore. Remind them that satan was defeated, and that redemption is finished.
And now, as tens of thousands of us around the world agree in prayer, creating synergy and multiplication, we break off of the church all fear, intimidation, lethargy, complacency, and lukewarmness. We fan the flames of passion and faith. And we declare together that we are well able to possess the land! The name of Jesus seals this!
We decree that all intimidation is broken off of the Ekklesia and that the spirit of faith is prevailing.
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James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. No. G329.
Ibid. Ref. no. G303.
Ibid. Ref. no. G2222.
Ibid. Ref. no. G4442.
Ibid. Ref. no. G1411.
Ibid. Ref. no. G26.
Ibid. Ref. no. G4995.
Ibid. Ref. no. G1167.
Ibid. Ref. no. G5401.