A Spirit of Fear

Ours is a spiritually challenging society. However in a day even more difficult Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote a young minister named Timothy words relevant to us:

“Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  (II Timothy 1:6, 7)

At the time of this writing Paul was in a Roman prison awaiting decapitation. The mad emperor Nero had set fire to a large section of Rome and blamed the Christians for it. Believers were being rounded up and executed. Word spread throughout the Roman Empire as to what was happening in Rome. The word reached Troaz where awaited the young apprentice minister Timothy.  A shiver must have gone through him when he heard of what awaited his mentor, Paul, other believers, and perhaps himself.

Timothy was challenged to remember, “God has not given us a spirit of fear.” Therefore, “Stir up the gifts within you….”

Most of us have memories of a fire on the hearth in our home or of sitting around a campfire. Nights around a fire are a storehouse of memories. Are you one of those who can’t resist poking a fire? At a campfire are you one of those who inevitably ends up with a stick in your hand poking the fire? Are you an artist with a poker with the ability to create various patterns as the dancing patterns of the flames and embers vary?

The expression “stir up the gifts” translates the Greek word ANAZOPUREO [ah-na-zo-pu-re-o]. ZOPUREO refers to embers in which the fire has abated. The prefix ANA means “to kindle again the flames of the fire.”

The appeal is to “stir up” the fire within you. There is no reason to assume the fire has gone out. If it has, it could not have been stirred up.

Has your fervor been chilled and your zeal chilled? Are you spiritually in the game or on the sidelines? Do you have gifts and abilities not being used for the glory of the Lord?

Perhaps you, as I, made a commitment to the Lord a long time ago. Now is a good time to evaluate your faithfulness to it.

How do you stir up a fire? You make some changes, you rearrange things. The same is true with stirring up the gifts of God within you.

Are there ashes on your holy boldness? If so, stir off the ashes.

Are there ashes on your joy? If so, stir off the ashes.

Are there ashes on your devotional life? If so, stir off the ashes.

Are there ashes on your basic temperament? If so, stir off the ashes.

Use those traits daily. If Timothy could be sustained in the face of Roman terror by activating his spiritual life, so can you.