If you’ve spent any time watching the news recently, you’ve undoubtedly heard the same subliminal message from a million sources: “Be afraid.” Sure, most people aren’t telling you directly to be scared, but the way they’re presenting the facts makes everything seem…hopeless. Thankfully, God offers us a gift –– (and does anyone not love to receive gifts)? –– that gives us a way to replace our fear with an unstoppable hope.   

1. Replace fear.

2 Timothy 1:7
Leader Notes

  • No matter what is going on around us, God wants to give us the gift of hope in our present reality. God’s Spirit is not a spirit of fear. That means, when we trust God, we have nothing to fear.
  • Because God’s Spirit dwells within us when we walk with Jesus, we are never alone. So hope isn’t something we have to wait to receive––it’s something God offers us all the time. We just have to receive the gift of hope he offers us.
  • We can replace our fear with faith and trust in who God is. That’s the first step to having hope in the midst of fear.

What are the things you’re most afraid of right now? How is God inviting you to replace your fear? What are you replacing your fear with?

2. I got the power.

2 Timothy 1:7
Leader Notes

  • God’s Spirit is also a spirit of power, and just like we already have God’s courage available to us all the time, we already have God’s power too!
  • In uncertain times, we see our own weaknesses in startling clarity. But it’s actually good for us to see our own weaknesses because it reminds us that we need a power greater than our own to see us through.
  • God’s power shows up in a number of different ways in our lives: sometimes it’s the strength to be kind to a difficult person, the will to resist temptation or the courage to do something we’re afraid to do.

How are you seeing your own weaknesses at this present time? How can you rely on the Spirit’s power in the ways you feel weak right now?

3. Let love rule.

2 Timothy 1:7
Leader Notes

  • In our greatest moments of victory and our most horrendous moments as well, God’s love reaches out to us right then and there. God initiates love with us –– while we are undeserving and unwilling to love him back.
  • God’s love changes everything by showing us a new way to love. Because his love becomes the defining point for our loves, as we walk with him, he transforms the way we love him, others and ourselves.
  • Because God has a fervent love for us, the greatest thing we can do is to fervently love others. In uncertain times, we can still have a fervent love and a fail-proof faith. We can encourage others, we can intercede on behalf of others and we can share the love God has given to us. A kind word can change the trajectory of someone else’s life.

Are you letting love rule your life, or is something else ruling your life? What does love require of you right now?

4. Keep your head.

2 Timothy 1:7
Leader Notes

  • The Apostle Paul, in this letter to Timothy, reminds us that God has given us a sound mind. It’s easy to lose our heads in the midst of scary circumstances. But God has given us the ability to think well.
  • In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul says God has given us the mind of Christ, the ability to share the thoughts Jesus thinks. God has given us wisdom and discernment to see from his perspective, which enables us to acknowledge the events of the world, validate the feelings we’re feeling, but still operate as Jesus would in the world.
  • The best way to keep our heads…is to keep them in the Word of God. When we meditate on Scripture, we fill our minds with truth instead of lies or scary circumstances.

Where are you struggling to think with your “renewed mind”? How can you renew your mind right now? How can you keep your head in God’s Word this week?

5. Receive God’s gifts.

2 Timothy 1:7
Leader Notes

  • We all know what it’s like to receive a gift and then forget that we have it. God has already given us the gift of hope by giving us his Spirit of power and a sound mind and the ability to rely on him no matter what goes on.
  • To receive God’s gifts, including the gift of hope, we have to choose not to live in fear, but to trust who God has revealed himself to be.
  • The ultimate gift God gives us is Jesus and the gift of eternal life in him. Because that eternal life starts right now, now is the time to live into the gifts God has already given us. As we walk, filled by the Holy Spirit, not only do we operate in hope and power, we can live out the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5) or the gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12).

Reflect on your life right now. What gifts of God do you need to walk in? How are you choosing to receive God’s gift of hope today?

Optional Follow-up Questions:

  • What makes you say that?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • How would you explain your answer to a non-Christian friend or neighbor?
  • Why did God design it to work that way? Why not just do (whatever else) instead?
  • What would you say to someone who disagrees with that?
  • Why do we really have to do it like that? Why can’t we just go (some other route) instead?