2 Timothy 1:1-7
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the promise of life in Christ Jesus: 2 To Timothy, my dearly loved son. Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3 I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience as my ancestors did, when I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day. 4 Remembering your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy, 5 clearly recalling your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois, then in your mother Eunice, and that I am convinced is in you also. 6 Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
“…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.”
Wow! Another aspect of practicing discipline in our faith is fanning into flame that faith, having us realize the spirit of power and love and self-control, not the spirit of fear. In our culture, one of the only belief systems upon which culture condones condemnation is Christianity. That causes fear in many believers, but fear of what? In our culture, not many are killed or jailed for their faith.
But maybe G. K. Chesterton explains this best: “A man who has faith must be prepared not only to be a martyr, but to be a fool.” I suppose we all like to think about what we would give up for our faith, but when we won’t even risk social consequence for belief, how much do we really believe?
Having self-control helps us in several ways in our faith. First, having the self-control to remain steadfast in our belief – staying in the Word, prayer, repentance, corporate worship, etc. – sets the environment in our soul that is conducive for the Spirit’s work. I have found the places in my life where I have difficulty hearing and following God correspond to times when I am not in the Word, in prayer, etc.
Steadfast belief leads to a powerful witness where God’s love naturally flows from our life into the lives of others. When we are in a soul-place to hear God’s voice and have confidence that He will act in mighty, powerful ways as He has in the past, we speak and act boldly in faith, “unhindered” as Acts says. This flow of love expresses itself in spiritual power, literally the hand of God intervening to His glory.
So is your faith fanned into flame? If not, what fears hold you? Give them to God, study His Word, pray, repent. Speak and act boldly in your faith, knowing our Father in Heaven is with you.