Use Those Gifts
Read 2 Timothy 1:3-18
Timothy, I thank God for you—the God I serve with a clear conscience, just as my ancestors did. Night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. I long to see you again, for I remember your tears as we parted. And I will be filled with joy when we are together again.
I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
(2 Timothy 1:3-7)
This letter has a somber tone. Paul had been imprisoned for the last time, and he knew he would soon die. Unlike Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, when he was in a house (Acts 28:16, 23, 30) where he continued to teach, this time he was probably confined to a cold dungeon, awaiting his death (2 Timothy 4:6-8). As Paul was waiting to die, he wrote a letter to his dear friend Timothy, a younger man who was like a son to him (2 Timothy 1:2). Written in approximately a.d. 66/67, these are the last words we have from Paul.
At the time of his ordination, Timothy had received special gifts of the Spirit to enable him to serve the church (see 1 Timothy 4:14). Timothy was experiencing great opposition, however, to his message and to himself as a leader. In telling Timothy to “fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you” (2 Timothy 1:6), Paul was encouraging him to persevere. Timothy did not need new revelations or new gifts; he needed the courage and self-discipline to hang on to the truth and to use the gifts he had already received (see 2 Timothy 1:13-14). If Timothy would step out boldly in faith and proclaim the gospel once again, the Holy Spirit would go with him and give him power.
When you use the gifts God has given you, you will find that God will give you the power you need. The power of the Holy Spirit can help you overcome any fear of what some might say or do to you, so that you can continue to do God’s work. Meditate on Paul’s words to Timothy: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).