Timidity is not of God

by Mike Ratliff

7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

I remember a preacher who filled in for ours once for some reason. I was about 15 or so at the time. He was an older gentleman with a big booming voice and a head full of white hair. He was so different from our preacher that I actually listened to what he said. I believe that the person from the Bible he was talking about was Isaac. I remember him commenting on the fact that he was timid or shy or fearful. In my mind I thought of that person as shy or bashful by the way he described him. Then he said something I will never forget. He said, “Folks, timidity is not of God.” He then preached a sermon on how God calls His people to be bold and to fear not. Those who are fearful are those of little faith who make decisions that reflect their fear instead of reflecting a trust of God through their faith. He said that those who walk in fear and timidity are actually not in obedience to God and are therefore operating from pride. Their fear was the product of their pride as it did all it could do to protect self. However, those who walk in boldness are the truly humble believers because they lay aside self-protection while obeying God for His glory.

I remember hearing that and being dumbfounded. It was exactly the opposite of how we think; at least it was for me. Our natural minds conceive of timid people as the humble and the bold as the proud. However, if a believer is bold in the power of the Holy Spirit they are that way because they see their true position before the Lord by faith then they act accordingly. However, the timid believer is one who is not trusting God, but believes that if they obey Him they are taking a greater risk than they want to take. They are not being humble and obedient, but are being prideful and disobedient. Also, the boldness I am writing about here is boldness by the Spirit-led, not boldness that is presumption. The former is a product of genuine humility while the latter comes from pride. On the other hand, genuine believers are wise if they do fear God. That is good fear, but God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. This fear is the fear of men or the fear of failure or the fear of circumstances all based on self-focus that produces disobedience instead of boldly obeying God as He commands.

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2 “Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them-the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9 NKJV)

God commanded Joshua to be strong and of good courage three times in this passage. (v6, v7, and v9) God told him that He would be with Him always and that no one could stand before Him. Just as He had been with Moses, so would He be with him. Also, he told him that he must know the law and do it. He must meditate on it day and night and observe to do all that is written in it. Joshua would naturally be strong and courageous (not timid or fearful) because of knowing the law and obeying it. In His obedience to God to do this he would find that he could obey Him without fear or dismay. Why? The Lord his God would be with him wherever he went.

Timidity is paralyzing and is the fruit of pride. Boldness is the fruit of humility that bows the knee to God’s will and obeys Him no matter how fearful things look. Again, we are not talking about presumption here. This boldness is stepping out on faith in the face of long odds by the reckoning of a fleshly viewpoint. However, the odds aren’t long at all if God is with us.

18 So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.
23 And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. 24 So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness. (Acts 4:18-31 NKJV)

I pray that you carefully read the passage above from Acts 4. Peter and John were threatened with harm if they did not stop preaching in the name of Jesus. What did they say back to the Sanhedrin? They said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” After their release they told the brethren what happened. What did they do then? Then were filled with the spirit in prayer, praise, and worship. Look in v31. As they were filled with the Holy Spirit they spoke the word of God with boldness. This is the calling of the church. God commands us to not be fearful, but be bold and courageous because He is with us.

Now, there is more to this than simply wanting this. Our lives must reflect on the inside what is going on outside. We cannot be strong in the Spirit (Spirit-led) if we are mired in sin. If we are not walking in repentance then how can we be bold in the Lord? If we are seeking our own in secret, how can we be obedient with great boldness and courage in public? The cost of obedience can be high in the temporal. Those who are fleshly are not going to risk it are they? However, those who walk in obedience and repentance are the ones who see the eternal as vital and more important than the temporal. They see their lives as well spent for their Lord even if they end up in prison or dead or tortured or looked down on by nearly everyone. These are the bold. The timid would never risk it.

33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 But a Pharisee in the council named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in honor by all the people, stood up and gave orders to put the men outside for a little while. 35 And he said to them, “Men of Israel, take care what you are about to do with these men. 36 For before these days Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 37 After him Judas the Galilean rose up in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him. He too perished, and all who followed him were scattered. 38 So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” So they took his advice, 40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (Acts 5:33-42 ESV)

What is the key to boldness? Gamaliel tells us that if God is with someone they cannot be overthrown. Therefore, the obedient servant of God is bold and does a thing the world hates that always brings conviction into the hearts of the people God is reaching through their service. Again Peter and John are hauled before the Sanhedrin. Again, they refuse to stop speaking in the name of Jesus. This time, however, they are beaten before their release. This was probably a flogging with 39 lashes. What was their response? They left the presence of the council rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. Did they stop teaching and preaching? No! They continued boldly teaching everyday in the temple and from house to house. They did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Timidity is not of God. Boldness is of God.

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22 thoughts on “Timidity is not of God

  1. Boldness, drieven by love and anointed by the Spirit is God’s way. The love of Christ must constrain us, and no one can be fully captured by that without seeking Christ and His glorious face with abandon.

    Like Jacob we must hold on to the horns of the altar until God’s power comes in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. 19 terrorists, full of demons, brought America to her knees.

    How can we claim in our present condition that we are full of God’s power. Our pitiful power doesn’t even bring the church to her knees, much less America. Until the the Potter is allowed to break the earthen vessels, we will continue to exist among darkness without having much affect. Lord, brake us and fill us with You and none of us. We’ve learned to imitate power, give us the real power that glorifies You and You alone!

  2. I think I have a lot timidity because I have a lot of pride. I see this in how little I spread the Gospel! Pray that I become more bold in Him!

  3. Well by being bold I have just been called a fanatic and my aunt is worried about me. She thinks I lost it completely. She isn’t going to tell people about Jesus anymore because they call her names or don’t want to hear it and give her dirty looks. She wouldn’t starve if she couldn’t find a job were she wasn’t allowed to be honest. There isn’t really a Hell because Jesus is loving,
    but she has Jesus in her heart and prays all the time. Wow how many of us are there going to be? I am certainly feeling alone in this in my family.

  4. PS: Oh, and also I am getting really bad. Why? Because I want to be obedient! :)
    Praise God!!

  5. I certainly don’t lay any claim to knowing the secret things of God, but it seems to me that the days of sweeping corporate revival are long past because the patient is dead.

    Sadly modern church-ianity is a hollow spiritual shell with no life. It’s but empty pomp and circumstance puffed up with religious sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    The soaring Christ-centered, God honoring preaching of days gone by has been replaced with the man-centered false gospel of the Protestant Pope, “America’s Pastor”, Rick Warren and the cotton candy, bloodless Nerf theology of “Gawd has a wonderful plan for Your Best Life Now” Joel Osteen.

    The professing church is Biblically illiterate and spiritually bankrupt and has traded its spiritual birthright for a worthless bowl of worldly pottage.

    Oh, how far we have fallen! I’m amazed every day by the race to the very bottom of the pit of hell in which today’s Circus Church is engaged.

    Father forgive us!

  6. Boldness= a life well spent, regardless of the risk or consequences. Lord, this is our prayer!
    Deborah, I have the same exact family situation.There is a world outside the walls of family waiting for such boldness…..that they may hear the gospel proclaimed.

  7. When I first opened this site this morning and saw the title of this article, what I saw was “Trinity is not of God”. Don’t ask me how; but that was what I thought I saw. My internal alarm system went from amber to red in 3 seconds!

    Don’t laugh :-D I knew you would!

    Okay, now that my eyes have stopped playing tricks on me and I am certain that Mike has not defected, I can say that it is amazing how God can embolden a man. Look what He did with Peter. I grew up reserved, quiet and not one to rock anyone’s boat. I see what God has done with me today and I am just as amazed too!

    Indeed, the Spirit we have received is that of boldness. Praise the Lord!

  8. Yomi,

    No worries there brother! :-)

    Yes, we are transformed at salvation and He grows us from there. I am not naturally bold at all. In fact, I am very withdrawn and self-protective. However, He is Lord and what He says goes and I pray that I will always obey Him.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  9. Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.
    Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.
    For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers , against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the Heavenly places. Ep 6:10-12
    I told my daughter the demons got her in 2000 but she just thinks I am crazy. She was baptized in 1998 and she is now at a point of depression with suicidal thoughts and refuses to pray. Only pills and a therapist. Please pray for Aimee

  10. Deb, Say this prayer every morning you wake up, before you leave your house, print it out and paste it on your mirror. Eph 6:10-18

    Father help us to,
    10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication, in Jesus’ name we all pray.

    With the Love for Christ Jesus
    David

  11. Yomi,
    You really made me laugh :-) .

    Mike,
    Thanks for this. I am also reminded of Gideon in Judges 6 & 7. He was hiding in the wine press when the angel of the Lord adressed him as a “mighty warrior”! I get a real kick out of this. Later Gideon a.k.a “mighty warrior of the Lord” obeyed the Lord by detroying the ashera pole and altar of Bael AT NIGHT. After that, when the time came for Gideon to go to battle with only 300 men, the Lord told Gideon that IF he was scared to go down to the enemies camp and and he would hear words of encouragement **and that he could take his servant Purah with him. Gideon probably ran down there! God is so good, he even knew Gideon would be scared and told him ahead of time he could take Purah! Mighty warrior of the Lord! THEN after hearing the words of encouragement from the enemies own mouth, Gideon comes back telling everyone you do this you do that and then yell “For the Lord…AND FOR GIDEON!!” I love that! This saint hiding out in the wine press was emboldened by the Lord and truly was a Mighty Warrior. Amen!

  12. Rachel,

    Yep, we are mighty warriors when God is in control and He isn’t if we are. If we are Bold, but not presumptious, we are like Gideon when He finally gets it and relies on God event though it looks like foolishness to obey Him this way.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  13. David, Thank you, that is a very good idea. Bless you
    Rachel, That was very encouraging .Thank you

  14. Are we allowed to have ‘righteous anger’? What use to not really bother us about the Lord, really bothers us now when someone ‘attacks’ Him in any way. Is that a ‘normal’ thing to have happen? Coram Deo, we think the same thing! John MacArthur has a book called ‘Ashamed of the Gospel’ that talks about how bad things are. We try not to be to overbearing with the boldness, but sometimes the ol blood pressure goes full tilt when the unsaved say and do the things they do mocking God. We tell them the truth and they laugh…….no fear at all! The word reprobate comes into my mind about that time……….

  15. Oh, one more thing……..Mike, we just admire your photography skills!! Your pictures are breath taking. Great shots!

  16. Thanks Paul! I think I take one good picture out of every 10-20 shots. :-) So, you only get to see the good ones. :-) However, what I like to shoot is beauty in God’s creation. Now, in that I agree with you. When we see what God has wrought, even in it’s cursed state, it is wonderful. When I capture that in a picture then I rejoice.

  17. sometimes the ol blood pressure goes full tilt when the unsaved say and do the things they do mocking God. We tell them the truth and they laugh…….no fear at all! The word reprobate comes into my mind about that time……….

    Precisely, Paul. And the state of the last days professing church, which is also variously known as the harlot church, and the scarlet woman really is that bad.

    Sadly in my experience trying to point professing Christians toward this truth is often downright maddening. But we must always be mindful that all who profess Christ are not necessarily of Christ. There is an intellectual assent to the facts of the gospel and the truth claims of Christ that equates to a demonic faith fit for nothing but destruction. It isn’t saving faith, it’s mere mental acknowledgement without contrition, repentance, and salvation by grace through faith. These are the tares among the wheat and the goats among the sheep.

    Oh, may we repent of our sinful pride and be ever aware of our poverty of spirit, while yet rejoicing for the bountiful rivers of living water that flow from Christ Jesus our Lord to those who are called by His name!

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