Tonight at church we continued in looking at 2 Timothy (1:6-14 tonight). We spent time writing down a person who was influential in our faith--remembering is one of the themes in Timothy. We then shared those in a little more depth with two other people, and ended with sharing the one sentence about the person that we had written down. It was heart-warming to hear the stories.
Since last Sunday I shared a little about some of those people who were influential in my life. So tonight I thought it would be good for me to reflect on some of the phrases from 2 Timothy 1:6-14 that stuck out to me as the passage was read.
"Fan into flame the gift of God" (1:6, all verses are NIV). This is an interesting thought. I don't know the fullness of what that means, other than the spiritual gifts we receive need to be cultivated, so to speak. They may start as a spark, but with effort they can become a big fire. That only begins when we know our gifts. I admit that I'm not a very good flame-fanner of mine. I need bigger bellows.
"For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline" (1:7). I like this. I don't always live it, but I like it. I can be timid in my faith. Not in a sense of being soft-spoken to others--I don't think that's what this is necessarily referring to--but that I don't live it as boldly as I could. That timidity comes from elsewhere--not from God. I like that his Spirit gives us power, love, and self-discipline. I need those things.
"Join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God" (1:8). This I don't like as much. Suffering is something I'd prefer to enjoy. The call to follow Christ is not a call to a happy, Pleasantville sort of life. There is definitely joy, but there is also the potential of great suffering. This is often neglected by many preachers.
"He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace" (1:9). My salvation is not due to anything I have done. This is very counter-cultural, but in an odd way it is good to know that I'm not good enough. Only God is good enough. I still try sometimes to be a "do-gooder" in order to win His favor. But I don't need to. He already loves me. My good deeds should flow out of Him in my life.
"Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light" (1:10). Being in the season of Epiphany, I like this image of bringing life and immortality to light. I know I've still got dark areas which need life shed on them. I'm thankful for Christ who does that in addition to life and immortality. I also find the thought of bringing those two things to light interesting; we clearly don't understand them fully yet, but Jesus will keep making them clearer.