This past week my son and his family passed through town on their way to their new duty station. It was great to see the grands, and we pulled out some boxes of old family memories. Scrapbooks and memory boxes can be beautiful reminders of our past. Sometimes they make us laugh, and sometimes they make us cry, but they connect us with our story. So it is with our text today, 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 God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
The Apostle Paul reminds Timothy to think about his past, the love of Timothy’s mother and grandmother, and the apostle’s tears. The reason wasn’t nostalgic. It’s motivational. Just like a campfire needs constant attention, we need to fan our faith into a flame.
We have all received gifts from our heavenly Father. They are different from the gift Timothy received, but they are just as precious. Our gifts, like Timothy’s, require diligence: “For God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Notice there four qualities,
First, God didn’t give us a Spirit of timidity. We have received the Spirit of Power! Do you remember when the Sanhedrin – the most powerful government body in Israel – called the apostles before them? Peter boldly proclaimed:
“This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Now notice the council’s reaction:
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished (Acts 4:11 – 13).
You have been born again! You are a child of the King! It’s time to speak up!
Second, not only have we received the Spirit of power, we have received the Spirit of love. The opposite of love isn’t hate – it’s selfishness. The use of our God-given talents without love leads only to pride, but if we use our gifts with love, they will be tempered with gratitude, and others will be encouraged to use their gifts as well.
Finally, we have received the Spirit of self-discipline. (The King James Version says we have received a “sound mind.”) Self-discipline means we don’t think too highly of ourselves, and we don’t think too lowly of ourselves. We consider ourselves with sober judgment. That’s a beautiful thing. Some people look in the mirror, and it makes them sad. They don’t see themselves through God’s eyes. Jesus was willing to die for that person, you see. God was willing to let Jesus do that! You are special.
Other people can’t walk past a department store widow without checking out their reflection – and grinning. They walk on air and feel like the rest of us should be pleased just to be in their presence. We need to recognize the difference between pride and a healthy self-esteem!
“Power, love, and self-control.” Three great gifts of the Spirit! Consider these three questions in your time with God today:
- How does the presence of God’s Spirit empower us?
- How does the presence of God’s Spirit teach us to love?
- How does the presence of God’s Spirit teach us self-discipline?