2 Timothy 1:6-7 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 the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
When are you timid?
Maybe you’re not. I don’t think most people consider me timid, but when I enter a room, I can be quite shy. I’ll be looking around for anyone who makes eye contact that I can comfortably go hang by (sometimes for the rest of the night). I’m not very brave in social situations. Not at all timid once you get to know me, but those first meetings (especially if I can’t remember your name) are hard for me. I’m a bit insecure sometimes.
Why are we sometimes timid?
I think the reason we’re sometimes timid is because we’re looking for our self-worth in the wrong places. We’re looking at getting our self-worth through other people, our work, our money or position. But in the verse above it seems to be related to the gifts God has given us, and we’re to use those gifts for God’s glory.
What do you think of when you think of power? A super hero? Your boss? Your father? I think in reality power for me is security. Feeling comfortable in my own skin and not being affected (as much) by the negativity around me. The definition of power a few places is to be able to produce an effect. Here it is telling us that by the Holy Spirit we are given the ability to produce an effect. We can be effective for Christ.
I’m sure most of us know that the commandments Jesus talked about were about love: Mark 12: 29-31, “Jesus answered, “Here is the most important one. Moses said, ‘Israel, listen to me. The Lord is our God. The Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Love him with all your mind and with all your strength.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4,5) And here is the second one. ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18) There is no commandment more important than these.”” Giving us through the Holy Spirit the ability to love, God is giving us the ability to fulfill His commandments (ok – not perfectly, but without Him, we’re incapable of true love – loving those who don’t deserve it – as Christ loves us).
Ok – if you’re anything like me being given the gift of self-discipline is like getting socks at Christmas. Useful, but not very exciting. At least it used to be. I’m finding that as I grow up (yes I’m still working at that) I find being self disciplined helps me avoid a lot of self loathing, a lot of over eating, snapping at my family, being selfish (or at least recognizing it) and loads of other sins I would rather not reveal this morning. Being able to have self-discipline also allows me to focus and keep my eyes fixed on the Lord. Still not perfect at it, but learning to daily seek God is a self-discipline.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God
Practice, practice, practice. Everything we want to be truly good at takes practice, or doing something over an over again. Have you ever fanned anything into flames? I truly try to avoid open fires for the most part, so this hasn’t happened to me very often, but I do watch Survivor (don’t hold that against me) and it’s really hard work for them to get a fire going. After they finally get a spark, they have to fan it into flames to get a fire worth using started. Our faith is the same way. If we leave it alone and don’t tend to it, it will diminish, or even peter out. But if we fan it into flames, by reading the word of God and renewing our mind we will be transformed. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
What are you fanning into flames?