2 Timothy 1:3-7 – By Pastor/Elder Paul Linzmeier
Posted on February 12, 2023 by No comments
“I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. 4As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. 5I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. 6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”2 Timothy 1:3-7
Paul loved Timothy like a beloved child–a love birthed out of a living faith in Christ that desires to see others believe and grow into a sincere faith too. There is a generational tone to these verses above with the mention of ancestors, grandmother and mother, and even in the old man Paul who is caring for this young man Timothy. It is a faith that goes way back and contains a care that is deep and affectionate, for Paul says he is praying “constantly” for Timothy when he remembers him day and night. I know how meaningful it is to me when someone tells me they are praying for me often. I feel so loved and am stirred up to keep pressing on in Jesus. My first experience with this was when I attended a Bible study in high school as an unbeliever. The facilitator of the study the night I attended was a woman who could have been my grandmother. She looked me in the eye and told me she loved me and was praying for me often, for she had been told of me by a classmate of mine. I nearly teared up on the spot. How could a person who has never met me before actually love me and be so genuinely concerned for the state of my soul? I know now it was because she had Christ in her and her faith was alive, bearing fruit, and she took initiative to make sure I knew who Jesus is and my need for Him.
True and living faith in Christ cannot stay contained; it is meant to be spread and shared. Like a sack of unending grain that we are to sow and watch over, we are called to participate through faith in the raising up of new generations whom God is bringing to saving faith and a life of bearing fruit. Brothers and sisters, who are those God has placed in your life to spur on in the faith? Who are those unconverted that you are called to evangelize? How often are we praying as we remember these ones? Who are we called to care for even from a distance by writing letters like Paul writes to Timothy in this letter?
God’s grace was shown to Timothy through relationships and examples of trust in God from a young age. Now, just as others have labored in his life to teach and instruct and compel him to look to God so Timothy is to “fan into flame the gift of God”–that is, to put in practice the sincere faith that now dwells in him. Timothy is to care for his own soul by fanning into flame deeper faith in Christ and also called to care for the souls of others through this gift given him by God. As Paul writes in vs. 13 he instructs Timothy to, “follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” The fanning of faith comes from following a “pattern of sound words” (study and speaking of the Word), the day to day walking in “the faith” (obedience to Christ in all things, even enduring suffering for the gospel), “and love” (a love that imitates Christ Jesus as beloved children, Ephesians 5:1-2). So the fanning into flame the gift of faith comes in the actual practice of faith.
Are we making good use of the means of grace that God has provided for us to grow and to disciple others? Gathering with the saints often to study the Word, pray, sing to the Lord, and also doing so in private? Are we looking for opportunities to serve in love by intentionally discipling those around us with increased faith in Christ Jesus being the goal? If you find yourself feeling a little stagnant and undirected, start walking out the faith. A muscle doesn’t grow unless exercised, a gift doesn’t mature unless used, a flame apart from the bellows will soon fade, so also Faith will not grow unpracticed. This of course is not within our own efforts, but wholly dependent on God who has given us of his Spirit. As Paul says in vs. 12… “ I am convinced that he is able to guard until that day what has been entrusted to me.” And again in vs. 14, “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.” Our confidence is in the Spirit within us who will guard this good confession entrusted to us. Praise be to the Lord; He will keep His own!
So because the living God dwells in us by His Spirit and has granted us faith in the Son, let us all the more gladly submit to the ministry He has called us to by putting this faith into practice. Whether you are grandma, mother, a Paul, a Timothy, or fill in the blank, there are endless opportunities given you each day to live out the faith that you might be fanned into greater flame knowing and experiencing Christ more and so that others might also know Him more all to the glory and praise of Jesus.