II TIMOTHY 1:5-7: “I recall the genuine faithfulness within you, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure it is within you as well. 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 has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self-discipline.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Am I using the gifts God gave me? This is the question Paul was asking Timothy when he exhorted him to fan into flame the gift of God which was in him. This gift was both imparted and consecrated through the laying on of hands. It was the manifestation of the Holy Spirit living through Timothy’s life. And Timothy had begun to let the flame diminish in his life.
Paul reminds Timothy that his heritage was one of faithfulness. This faithfulness in fulfilling God’s calling in his life was something that was modeled for him from a young age in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. Paul affirms – “…I am sure it is within you as well.” So what happened to young Timothy? Why did he start putting his gifts on the shelf? Why had timidity begun to impact his effectiveness?
The answer is – LIFE!
Can you remember when you were young? You and I were going to change the world! We saw the injustice. We sensed the cry of the afflicted. We felt the pain of those marginalized by society. This was going to change on our watch! And then – life happened. Day by day, inch by inch, this passion began to wane as we faced the uphill struggle of life and the ongoing attacks of the enemy. As believers the enemy cannot completely defeat us. However, he can get us to lose heart.
When we lose heart in life we begin to lay down our faithfulness. This is not only our perseverance, it is our basic trust in the Lord. Faced with unwon battles, and disappointments, our natural tendency is to take the pathway of least resistance. If engaging the gifts God has given us has brought on this struggle, perhaps it will lessen if we put them on the shelf. After all, our passion was just the idealism of youth. It is time to be realistic and recognize our limitations and settle in life.
To each of us who have felt this way the words of the Apostle Paul cry out…
- “…fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity but of power and love and self-discipline.”
God has not given us a spirit of timidity or defeat. He has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. He has given us gifts of mercy and grace, special talents and abilities, and the promise of His victory if we persevere in Jesus Christ. We may have lost a few skirmishes, but the battle belongs to the Lord! It is time to stoke the flames of our life and passion and realize that it is never too late to engage the gifts in our lives that the Lord has given us!
What gifts am I sitting on? What gifts have I simply put on the shelf out of discouragement? What flame needs rekindling? Even for those in retirement this call sounds forth with great passion and urgency. We should really never retire in the Lord. We should rather be reenlisted into the passions of our heart. With the added time, and with the years of wisdom, some of the greatest threats to the kingdom of darkness are those whose hair has turned gray, but their hearts are aflame with color!
Lord, I sense a prophetic calling in this reflection. It is a calling to my own heart to stir up the gifts that You have given me. It is a calling to anyone who reads this to stir up the gifts that You have placed in them. It is a call to shake off the fear and timidity that life has tried to place upon their shoulders, and take up the mantle of love, power, and a sound mind! It is the call to engage in the work, calling, and dreams the Lord has given them.
It is a call to fan the flame of life once again!
Lord, young or old, we all can grow cold. Reignite our hearts with Your passion for the lost, our world, and Your Kingdom.
In Jesus Name!