“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT). 

Some of the biggest barriers that stop or slow down potential leaders are fear and timidity. Too often, people don’t respond to the call of God, because they’re worried they might mess up. I want to encourage you to not let that happen to you! Don’t be too timid to embrace the great vision God has for your life!

We can learn an important lesson from the Bible’s account of a military leader named Barak. He did a good thing by leading the army of Israel in a victorious fight against their oppressor from Canaan. However, when you read the whole story, it’s apparent that Barak was actually hesitant in his leadership. 

Deborah, a prophetess and Israel’s judge, first encouraged Barak to lead troops against the enemy. “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, commands you,” she exhorted (Judges 4:6, NLT).  However, Barak was reluctant to step up to the charge. He responded, “If you will go with me, then I will go but if you will not go with me, I will not go!” (Judges 4:8, NKJV).  Deborah agreed to go with him, but she also shared disappointment in his hesitancy.  She answered, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless there will be no glory for you in the journey you are taking” (Judges 5:9, NKJV). 

It seems here that the Lord did not honor Barak’s tentativeness.  God wanted Barak to embrace the call on his life, not question it.  The older I get, the more I believe that God honors boldness, not timidity.  He doesn’t want His people to hesitate when He says to move.  He wants us to be bold and decisive by pursuing God’s call, plan, and vision wholeheartedly.

While we should avoid the hesitancy displayed by Barak, we need to embrace the boldness displayed by Deborah.  When the day of battle came, it was Deborah who again prompted Barak to take the next step of action. “Up!” she exclaimed, “for this is the day in which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the LORD gone out before you?” (Judges 4:14, NKJV).  Deborah was ready for action and confident in her Lord. She was bold! 

Deborah wasn’t intimidated by the challenge; she saw it as an opportunity for God to display His power.  But if the situation had been left to Barak alone, he might have never taken action against the enemy, leaving their nation in oppression.  Let’s be careful to not allow fear to hold us back from experiencing God’s best!  Our action or inaction affects not only ourselves but also those we influence.   

Always remember this truth: “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NLT).  Simply put, if you have fear in your heart and mind, it didn’t come from God.  “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV).  Don’t let timidity hold you back! 

You may not be a bold person by nature, but that doesn’t matter. True boldness is not a personality trait or an act of will; it is a gift of grace we receive from God.   You can have confidence in the Spirit, not in the flesh.  Ask God for boldness, and then step out in faith to do the things He has called you to do.