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Sometimes, OK, many times, I need to be reminded to fan the flame. It hasn’t completely gone out but it is flickering. It isn’t extraordinarily strong and is providing truly little light.

So, the reminder comes. It is now. The Spirit of God gives us power. This is the same Spirit that raised Jesus, the Messiah, from the dead. Why be timid? No reason at all.

I just need to fan the flame. The Spirit is in me. It is in us. No need to be timid at all.

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. [1]

2 Timothy 1:6

Paul reminded Timothy of the time God called him into service and the local church ordained him. Paul had laid his hands on Timothy. Through Paul, God had imparted to Timothy the spiritual gift he needed for his ministry. The laying on of hands was a customary practice in apostolic days. We all need other disciples of Jesus in our lives to remind us about the gift of God in our lives.

It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to serve God, and through Him we can overcome fear and weakness. The word fear in 2 Timothy 1:7 means “timidity, cowardice.” The Holy Spirit gives us power for witness and for service. It is futile for us to try to serve God without the power of the Holy Spirit. Talent, training, and experience cannot take the place of the power of the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit also gives us love. If we have love for lost souls and for the people of God, we will be able to endure suffering and carry out the work of God. Selfishness leads to fear because, if we are selfish, we are interested only in what we will get out of serving God, and we will be afraid of losing prestige, power, or money. True Christian love, energized by the Spirit, enables us to sacrifice for others and not be afraid. The Spirit gives love.

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He is also the One who gives self-control (“a sound mind”). This word is related to the words sober and sobriety that we often meet in the pastoral letters. “Self-discipline” is a better translation of “sound mind”. It describes a person who is sensibly minded and balanced, who has his life under control. The Amplified Version reads, “calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.”

Timothy did not need any new spiritual ingredients in his life; all he had to do was “stir up” what he already had. Paul had written in his first letter, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee” (1 Tim. 4:14). Now he added, “Stir up—stir into flame—the gift of God.” The Holy Spirit does not leave us when we fail; but He cannot fill us, empower us, and use us if we neglect our spiritual lives. It is possible to grieve the Spirit and quench the Spirit.

Timothy had every reason to be encouraged and to have spiritual enthusiasm in his ministry. Paul loved him and prayed for him. His experiences in life had been preparation for his ministry, and Paul was confident of the genuineness of Timothy’s faith. The Spirit within him would give all the power needed for ministry. What more could he want?[2]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), 2 Ti 1:6–7.

[2] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 241.