We complete this current series today. Welcome to those visiting this blog site for the first time. Over the past 4 weeks, we have been gaining insights about the spiritual gifts and God’s requirement that we ‘stir up’ the gifts given to us. Check Part 4 to understand what is meant by stirring up the gifts. As promised, today I will be discussing how we stir up the gifts.
It is important to note in 2 Timothy 1:6 that Paul did not tell Timothy to pray and ask the Lord to stir up his gifts within him. He laid that responsibility squarely at Timothy’s feet. The fact that Paul was telling Timothy to reactivate his gift means that God holds each of us accountable for determining whether or not the gifts we have been given will be activated or not and once activated whether or not they will remain activated. Holy Spirit gives the gifts but each one of us has been given the response-ability to activate the gifts we have been given and to keep them activated. How? Recall, I mentioned last time that 2 Timothy 1:6 is the only place in the Bible where this phrase ‘stir up’ is used. It should therefore be no surprise that it is the verses immediately following verse 6 that prove instructive with regards to the ‘how’.
7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (8) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner: but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God; (9) who has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (11) to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (12) For this reason I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day. (2 Tim. 1:7-12)
Here, Paul is pointing out the main challenge all believers face in stepping into the manifestation of their spiritual gifts – the spirit of fear. What is the antidote for fear? Faith. How does faith come? By hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). So then, for our spiritual gifts to flourish we must nourish ourselves with the Word of God so our faith remains steadfast. To counter the spirit of fear, we must believe that Holy Spirit within us is greater than any demonic spirit that seeks to intimidate us and that belief is built up in us through meditation on the truth in God’s Word regarding who we are in Christ.
What else must we do to activate, keep activated or reactivate our spiritual gifts? Paul goes on to encourage Timothy to be willing to step into the holy calling upon his life despite the hardships that would come. Paul called them “sufferings for the gospel”. Many of us want the resurrection power of Jesus but don’t want to share in the same suffering that Jesus had to go through as a condition to experiencing the resurrection power.
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3:10-11)
The following scriptures provide further support for what God requires of us in keeping with the stirring up of our gifts.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom. 12:1)
For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. (Mk. 8:35)
If our gifts are to be stirred up, we must be willing to partner with Holy Spirit in full measure, in complete surrender to God’s will. We must be willing to work the works of Him who has called us while it is still day, no matter the cost (John 9:4). We note from the 2 Timothy 1:7-12 passage above, that the works we are being required to do are in keeping with the purpose and calling God preordained for each of our lives. In Paul’s case, the spiritual gifts given to him were to equip him to be a preacher, an apostle and a teacher of the Gentiles. Like Paul, we must cancel the fear of the suffering by knowing in whom we have believed, and being persuaded that ‘He is able to keep what we have committed to Him until that day.’ Father God wants us to have the correct perspective of adversity and suffering, recognizing that everything with God has a purpose.
For our light afflictions, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. (2 Cor. 4:17)
It is as we step out in faith, that the spiritual gifts will manifest and as we step out for God, He will not allow us to be ashamed because He has a vested interest in us accomplishing that which He has given us to do. The more we exercise our spiritual gifts in ministry, the more our gifts will flow and the words “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” will become a reality.
Satan wants more than anything to prevent the Body of Christ from activating the spiritual gifts we have been given. He does this through intimidation. Many of us are bound by the spirit of fear and have allowed ourselves to be intimidated into either not activating our spiritual gifts or allowing them to become dormant. God has appointed this as the day when a shift will take place in your life if you determine in your heart to partner with Him. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God!! (Rom. 8:19)
Please be encouraged further by looking up and hearing the Word of the Lord to His people from Isaiah 51:7-8, 12-16.
Arise, shine: For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)
Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light. (Eph. 5:14)