Spirit

1 08 2009

 

2 Timothy 1:

 Is it possible that we, by our own efforts (though, of course, ultimately from God) may increase the measure and influence of the Holy Sprit in our lives? It seems to be the case, for Paul instructs Timothy to “fan into flame”—implying effort—the “gift of God, which is in you [Timothy] by the laying on of my [Paul’s] hands.”

The imagery of fire or flames in reference to the spirit or presence of God is seen throughout the Scripture (ex. Moses’ burning bush, the pillar of fire during the Exodus, the descending tongues of flame at Pentacost). In the New Testament the Spirit is passed on to new believers by the laying of hands on converts, so I think it’s safe to assume the gift of God Paul refers to is the Holy Spirit. In addition, Paul goes on to speak of the “Spirit of power, love and self-discipline” that God gave to Timothy (vs.7).

So, if we are to also follow Paul’s instructions to “fan into flame” the gift of God—which is the Holy Spirit—what must we do?

It is important to understand the nature of the Spirit. Verse 7 says God’s Spirit is one of power, love and self-discipline. It is not for the purpose of empowering us to do supernatural things for our own gratification of sense of pride. Its purpose is the glorification of God, not us. In face, the Holy Spirit is the fullness of God.

The Spirit also seems to act when we do. I must choose to stretch the limits of my courage through my actions to make myself open to the Spirit’s work. A main concern of the Spirit is for the advancement of the gospel. Verse 8 continues the discussion of the Spirit, “so, do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord…but join with me in suffering for the gospel.”

In other words, since God gave Timothy the gift of the Holy Spirit—which is of power, love and self-discipline (not timidity)—he was to suffer for the gospel and not be ashamed to testify about our Lord.

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