Another verse I quote when battling my fear-mongering enemy is 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. The context is Apostle Paul admonishing Timothy to use the spiritual gift given to him by the Spirit when Paul laid hands on him, and not to be ashamed of Christ or Paul’s testimony because he was in prison. Timothy struggled with fearfulness. Fearfulness is a spiritual attack. It is Satan’s opposition to our calling from the Lord. The attack comes from without and it is rebuffed by the Spirit within. The Holy Spirit within is a Spirit of power (dunamis), love (agape), and sound judgment (sophronismos). The third quality has different translations: sound judgment, sound mind, self-discipline. It refers to “the power to keep one’s self in hand, free from all excitement or hesitation.” (Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament, p.638) It seems to refer to mental and emotional stability, like the idiom “an even keel” which means keeping a vessel’s keel in a level position, ensuring smooth sailing. The Holy Spirit empowers us to maintain mental and emotional stability in the midst of trails.
Christine Caine in her book Unexpected writes that God has given us three offensive weapons to lean into when we are attacked by fear: power, love, and a sound mind. Fear is a spirit, but it is no match for the Spirit of God within us. The Holy Spirit within us is our power to resist, our love for one another, and our mental and emotional stability in a world full of trouble.
Here’s a tough question: Does this mean no Christian, in whom the Spirit of God lives, should never experience a mental or emotional breakdown? If it is a spiritual attack from without and the Lord is testing a believer’s faith, then the answer is “Yes” (1 Corinthians 10:13). However, if the breakdown is due to a diagnosed physical problem like a chemical imbalance in the brain, then seek medical help, and PRAY. It is never God’s will for us to live in fear. God has graciously given believers a Spirit of power, love, and mental and emotional stability. The Holy Spirit is God’s most precious gift to us (Luke 11:13). Call upon the Holy Spirit within and speak the Word: “It is written…”