BY Guest Writer
Text: 2 Timothy 1:1-7, John 14:25-27, Acts 20:24
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
-2 Timothy 1:7, ESV
My Spotify playlist has become the soundtrack to my life. I listen over and over to my favorite songs, sometimes so long and hard I wake in the morning with a song already playing in my mind. Every word and tune sits deep in my soul it feels like part of me.
The playlist sets the backdrop for my day. The songs affect my outlook and my feelings. It’s a powerful thing.
In the context of Timothy 2, there was a cultural playlist. It was loud and it was insistent. Paul heard it. He recognized and wrote about it, warning Timothy not to let those songs get locked in his heart and mind. That cultural playlist was fear itself.
As a former “fear-er”, I need the reminder not to listen to fear because I was subject to it for over a decade. As a young mom, all fear had to do was whisper a word or quietly hum a tune and I immediately obeyed. My life was full of “What if?” and “Oh no!” because I was constantly listening to the fear playlist, tapping my foot to the beat of impending doom. I worried excessively about my kids’ health and safety. I erroneously thought that careful planning would always protect the people I love. But all that anxiety did was make me a fearful mom, an anxious wife, and a tired Christian.
While I thought I was in control, making life safe for my family, I was actually being stripped of power by a spirit of fear.
The spirit of fear is a liar and a manipulator. It begs you to sing along, but when you do, those hypnotic tunes take you under. You become smaller and weaker, spinning out of control rather than abiding in the presence of God.
When we listen to fear, we become powerless. When we partner with anxiety, we lose authority. The spirit of fear is a tool of the enemy, who seeks to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). But our Jesus, He came to give us abundant life to the full—a life of power, love and self-control.
I’m not sure about you, but I can’t afford to listen to a playlist compiled by the enemy. Like Timothy, I need Paul’s reminder to fan the flames of faith and kindle afresh this great hope in my life named Jesus. I am too weak a woman without God’s Word in my mind and His song in my heart. So I choose the playlist of the Spirit, letting those tunes enliven me to the freedom Christ died for me to gain.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
– 2 Timothy 1:6-7, ESV
Susie Davis is the author of Unafraid: Trusting God in an Unsafe World. A former fear addict but saved by God’s healing grace, she now delights in uncovering joy one day at at time. She and her husband, Will, co-founded Austin Christian Fellowship over twenty years ago. Susie loves McDonald’s coffee, pink geraniums and the yellow finches that fill her backyard every morning.