Because of this I remind you to rekindle God’s gift that you possess through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control … Protect that good thing entrusted to you, through the Holy Spirit who lives within us. – 2 Timothy 1:6-7, 14 NET
Paul had a special affection for Timothy. He looked on him as his son in the faith. But he knew that others had played a role in Timothy’s spiritual development. It is clear that Timothy had been positively influenced by his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois. They had raised him to fear and love God and had instructed him in the Scriptures. At one point in this same letter, Paul reminds Timothy, “You, however, must continue in the things you have learned and are confident about. You know who taught you and how from infancy you have known the holy writings, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15 NET). These two matriarchs had played a major role in Timothy’s life, preparing him for his inevitable encounter with the gospel and his acceptance of it.
But Paul held a special place in his heart for Timothy, having been there when Timothy received his commission for the ministry of the gospel. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul reminded him, “Do not neglect the spiritual gift you have, given to you and confirmed by prophetic words when the elders laid hands on you” (1 Timothy 4:14 NET). The elders had not given Timothy his spiritual gift. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. But they confirmed him for his use of his gift with the laying on of hands and a special word from the Lord. In that same letter, Paul wrote, “I put this charge before you, Timothy my child, in keeping with the prophecies once spoken about you, in order that with such encouragement you may fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 1:18 NET).
Whether or not Paul’s reference to “God’s gift” and the laying on of hands in these verses is speaking of the same commissioning service is not clear. But it would seem that Paul is speaking of something else. In the verses above, Paul makes reference to him laying hands on Timothy. This may very well be speaking of the moment at which Timothy received the Holy Spirit. And it would appear that this may very well be the “gift” from God that Timothy is to rekindle or fan into flame. Like every other believer, Timothy had received the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit at his conversion. But, like every other believer, we can quench the Spirit’s activity in our lives through our unwillingness to submit to His control. Paul knew that Timothy was going to need the power of the Holy Spirit to effectively accomplish his role as a minister of the gospel. That is why he told him, “rekindle God’s gift that you possess”. Paul knew that Timothy was young and was struggling with fear and timidity. The news of Paul’s imprisonment had obviously upset him. Paul had obviously sensed that Timothy was wavering in his faith and struggling with doubt about his calling. So Paul reminded him, “God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 NET). The gift that Timothy possessed was the Spirit of God – the Spirit of power, love and self-control. Timothy had all that he required to face the struggles of life as God’s spokesman and a minister of the gospel. He had the very Spirit of God living within him. So Paul told him, “do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, a prisoner for his sake, but by God’s power accept your share of suffering for the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:8 NET). Paul didn’t sugar coat it for Timothy. He let him know that suffering was going to be a part of his life as a minister of the gospel. But he also reminded him that the Spirit of God was within him, providing the power he needed to face any and all circumstances. Paul wanted Timothy to have the same confidence that he had. “I am not ashamed, because I know the one in whom my faith is set and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12 NET). And he charged Timothy, “Protect that good thing entrusted to you, through the Holy Spirit who lives within us” (2 Timothy 1:14 NET).
Each and every one of us who are followers of Jesus Christ have received the gift of the Holy Spirit. At our conversion He took up residence within us. He is our guide, comforter, advocate, source of strength and prayer partner. He provides us with a divine power supply that is inexhaustible and inconceivable. It is the same power that helped create the universe and that raised Jesus from the dead. That power lives within us and is constantly available to us. It is that power that makes it possible for us to face the struggles and trials of life with boldness and confidence. God has “called us to a holy calling” (2 Timothy 1:9 NET). We, like Timothy, have been commissioned by God to act as His ambassadors on earth. We are to take the message of the gospel to any and all we meet. We are to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, not our own strength. We are to remind ourselves daily that our future is secure and the very fact that the Spirit lives within us is a proof of our status as a child of God. We have the Spirit of power, love and self-control. We are lacking nothing. We have all we need to live the life we have been called to live, so let us do it with boldness, confidence, joy, and hope.