“... I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
~2 Timothy 1:6-7 (NIV).
This message from Paul to Timothy throbs into each of our lives via the presence of challenge in our living minutia. In other words, we’re always more tempted to shrink than rise in the context of our challenges.
Of course, God accepts this and forgives us in advance—always—in the grace known of salvation.
Every moment we’re tested and rested in this. The challenge: to live either little or large.
Times of Littleness
For Timothy, he’d come into a situation in the church he was pastoring in Ephesus where intimidation was a very real situation sitting him on a pastoral knife’s edge. This was both via his own lack of confidence and through some overbearing, ‘more mature’ others. He was feeling discouraged.
And worse, his timidity was affecting his leadership.
The truth was, of course, that Timothy was a very pure and holy soul, competent theologically and spiritually, and hence perfectly suited to the ministry of God. Yet, it was up to Paul to compel him forward—so as to brace him, with the truth about Timothy himself in mind, for the critical tasks at hand; not in pressure, but in confidence.
We, too, at times, lack confidence. We shrink when we ourselves and others need us to rise to the occasion. And we tend to know it at the time... there is a better way... the way of courage.
Times of Largeness
Okay, now we’re talking.
I received an email from a good friend very recently that spoke in very few words a powerful encouragement over my life; these were things I knew but the confirmation of others is absolutely crucial. Things like this help us live large.
They tend to our confidence and we never really need worry about getting a ‘big head’ if we’re truly desiring growth in God.
God uses people and situations in our lives—the encouragements—to compel us to heed them; to dwell in the moment they come, and truly allow them to sink in. This, very ironically, involves and highlights humility—to be able to listen to the good truths about ourselves, always staying balanced. If we don’t do this, we waste the precious opportunities at that healthy level of self-love that God’s inherently involved in. Times like this we’re taking heed of the truth—we’re on the right track and God wants us to know it; praise God!
Let’s live as large as we can, fanning those smouldering-at-times flames pertaining to our Spiritual gifts, bending the gifts to others in gorgeous and grace-filled love.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.