November 1, 2020

Stir Up The Gift Of God Which Is In You...๐Ÿ’–

2 Timothy 1:6-7 The Message (MSG) Version: That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you! And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! God doesn’t want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible.
Forerunner Commentary

The apostle is talking about a spirit that has been “given [to] us.” It is identified here as a “gift of God” that can be “stir[red] up.” It is bestowed through the laying on of hands, as we see throughout Scripture. Paul says that God's Spirit is not about human fear. Later in this letter, he reproaches Timothy for being ashamed of the gospel message and of Paul. The younger man seems to have been in some danger of letting down and needed to be admonished to be strong and to endure hardship. All of this is part of the fear to which Timothy was apparently inclined.

Paul contrasts the frame of mind—the spirit—that would curtail Timothy's effectiveness with the Spirit given by God. Paul calls the latter “a spirit . . . of power and of love and of a sound mind.” As in I Corinthians 2:12-16, God's Spirit is linked with mind. If we are yielding to His Spirit, then our minds will be sound; they will be disciplined and self-controlled. Our minds will be sensible, sober, balanced, and restrained, and we will have wisdom, discretion, and solid judgment. Through the guidance of God's Spirit, our minds will operate in a way different from, and often incomprehensible to, those in the world, because we are being impelled by the essence of God's own mind, which is the absolute epitome of sound-mindedness and the opposite of the course of this world.

The Spirit of God is also a spirit of love. We can combine this with Romans 5:5: “. . . the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Along with that, the first element of the fruit of God's Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22). Godly love is an action—doing the right thing toward God or another person, regardless of the personal cost involved. Its foundational definition is in the commandments of God. A fear of sacrifice—a fear of giving up what is valuable to us—comes from the spirit of the world, but God's Spirit enables us to love through doing what is right and trusting that God will work things out.

The remaining attribute listed here is power. It is the Greek word dunamis, which can also be translated as “ability,” “strength,” or “mighty works.” Dunamis is the capacity for achieving or accomplishing. The Holy Spirit gives a person the capacity for God's will and work to be done through him. But this is not a personal power. Even the miracles with which Jesus Himself is associated were actually performed by the Father (John 5:19; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10). Thus, the power of the Holy Spirit is the outworking of God the Father, rather than something we can use for our own ends.

It is critical to understand that the power of God's Spirit is under the constraint of the love and sound-mindedness of God's Spirit. In other words, it is not simply power for the sake of power, nor is it for self-gratification or self-glorification. The evident power in the Acts 2 account of Pentecost has given rise to churches that seek after similar supernatural displays, yet those displays are entirely divorced from the love and sound-mindedness of God.

People can seek this power for the wrong reasons, and it can be misused. Simon Magus tried to buy the power of God to use for his own ends (Acts 8:9-24), and even the congregation at Corinth had to be admonished because they were not using their spiritual gifts for the benefit of the Body (I Corinthians 12). In the midst of his discussion of God's various gifts, which are simply the outworking of God's power, Paul spends a whole chapter explaining godly love (I Corinthians 13), implying that the Corinthians' approach to those gifts did not include enough love or sound judgment.

He spells out that anything they received—such as spiritual wisdom or the ability to heal or do other miracles, to prophesy, to discern spirits, to speak in tongues, or to fulfill the office of apostle, prophet, or teacher—whatever the spiritual ability, God's Spirit is the source of it all, so there is no ground for boasting. The use of the power of God has to be constrained by the love and sobriety befitting the Most High God, so that He is the focus, not the individual.
[source: Love Worth Finding Ministries]

An elderly nurse, a member of Charles Spurgeon’s congregation, was living in the poor house, and the great Spurgeon went to visit her. He saw a framed certificate on her wall that she had received when a wealthy man she had cared for died. She didn’t know what it was. Spurgeon read it and learned the man left her his vast estate. Yet she was living destitute, not knowing the value of what she’d been left.

When Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven, He left you an incredible gift—your spiritual gift. Maybe you’ve not discovered yet what you have in Jesus. Could it be you have it framed on the wall, not using it? Or have left your gift under the tree, unopened and unappreciated?

God didn’t save you to sit but to serve! He gave you a spiritual gift. “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7). If you’re a child of God, that includes you.

Grace here is the Greek word charis—a God-given spiritual ability for service and ministry. But like that poor woman, you may be a gifted child who doesn’t know what you have or how to use it.

Your spiritual gift goes beyond talent. You don’t choose your spiritual gift anymore than you choose your natural gifts—like the color of your eyes or skin. Just as you get natural talents genetically by your first birth, your spiritual gift is given to you at your new birth, the gift of your ascended Lord. It is supernatural. You can develop your natural gifts, and you can develop your supernatural gifts.

Wherefore he saith, When He [Jesus] ascended up on high, He led captivity [the devil] captive, and gave gifts unto men [you]. (Ephesians 4:8)

When the Lord Jesus purchased our salvation, at the same time He broke Satan’s back. Satan’s kingdom came crashing down. His malevolent forces were crushed by Calvary. Jesus Christ led captivity captive. Satan had taken the world captive, but Jesus took Satan captive. His kingdom is ruined. The spoils of the battle—our grace gifts to serve our great King—are given to us.

Never despise or overlook your gift. It is a spiritual gift from our Conqueror, the Lord Jesus Christ.

God didn’t save you to be a member of Christians Anonymous. He put you here to serve; you’ve been called into the ministry. Your spiritual gift is to bless the church, not to bless you—not for your enjoyment but your employment. It’s a tool, not a toy.

Do you really want God to use you? Then stop praying for God to use you—get usable, and God will wear you out! Five principles will help you discover your spiritual gift:

• Desire. What do you enjoy doing? What do you do well naturally? What would be disappointing if you couldn’t do it?

• Discovery. You discover your gift as you endeavor to do it. Others will say, “You blessed me when you did that,” or “You’ve given me such wisdom here,” or “You have the ability to lead in this area.” Others will help you discover it.

• Development. As Paul told Timothy, stir up the gift of God. Study to show yourself approved. No matter what your gift is, like a natural talent, you must develop it through study and work.

• Dependence. Your spiritual gift must operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual gifts operate with supernatural power. Depend upon the Holy Spirit.

• Deployment. Put it to work with other saints. In the fellowship of the church you’re going to discover your place. When these gifts work together, the body matures, and we become more and more like Jesus.

You are a gifted child. Don’t leave your gift hanging on the wall. Find out what God wants you to do and get busy doing it.

When you serve Him, joy begins to flow. Ask God to show you your ministry. Accept yourself, discover yourself, be yourself, and give yourself for the glory of God.

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