Sunday, 4 March 2018
Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Timothy 1:6
The word “Therefore” is given to confirm what he has just said, concerning “the genuine faith that is in” Timothy. Paul knew it to be so, and he is giving strong encouragement based on this. He knew Timothy as a father knows a son. And Timothy surely looked to Paul as a father. In this, there is the heartbreaking thought that Paul was in prison, possibly on his way to execution. Along with that were troubles within the church itself which Paul has already noted, and which he will continue to refer to (such as in 1 Timothy 1:18-20 & and in 2 Timothy 2:17, 18).
Instead of being downcast because of such things, Paul gives him positive exhortation by reminding him “to stir up the gift of God.” The word which translates into “stir up” is found only here in the Bible. It refers to fire being fanned into flames. Paul is then encouraging Timothy to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in him, as he then says, “through the laying on of my hands.” This is probably referring to the same thing as was stated in 1 Timothy 4:14 –
“Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership.”
Though the laying on of hands was done by a group of men, Paul is using the singular here to make his participation in it personal to Timothy now. There may have been others present, but as a father to a son, Paul laid his hands on Timothy. In this act, Paul and the others made an acknowledgment that the Spirit resided in Timothy, and the he was now being set apart for service to the Lord based on the gift he possessed as a leader. It is this gift that Paul is imploring him to fan into flames. This is reminiscent of his words of 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.” Instead of stating it in the negative, he is stating it as a positive. Rather than quenching, he is admonished to fan.
Life application: Despite the many trials of our lives, we can and should stir up the flame of the Spirit in us. In doing so, we will be able to overcome the trials and difficulties we face. But the only way to do this is to act in accord with the Spirit – reading the word, praying to the Lord, praising God, joining with other believers in fellowship, and the like. In doing these things, we will stir up the flame, and we will then be able to press on with far less difficulty as we continue down life’s path.
Heavenly Father, help each of us to stir up the flame of the Spirit in our lives. Help us to do this so that we can face the many challenges which lie ahead of us in our family life, our jobs, our social life, and in other areas which can often be so challenging. May we be willing to tend to Your word, speak to You with our hearts, and rely on others for fellowship and encouragement. In these things, surely You will direct us and guide us through the daily difficulties. Thank You for being with us as we pursue You. Amen.