I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; ...Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Remember the Power of Prayer vs. 3-4
Paul tells his son in the faith, “I am praying for you.” Now he doesn’t just say, “I’m praying” instead he says “without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers, night and day.” Then he goes on and tells Timothy that those prayers are really an action of his love for Timothy.
“Greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears.” Very probably those tears were for Paul, Timothy’s mentor, his pastor, his leader, his friend and his father in the faith. Timothy’s heart was broken because he had seen other Christians tortured, mocked, crucified, coated with tar and burned like torches. Timothy knew what awaited Paul. And not just Paul but any who believed. Timothy was a pastor a missionary and he had brothers and sisters throughout the Roman empire and they were all in danger of terrible death. No wonder Paul could easily remember Timothy’s tears.
When Paul told Timothy these things, what he was also plainly saying without stating it was, “Timothy, my son remember I love you.”
Paul goes on and next tells Timothy,
Remember The Foundation of Faith vs. 5
2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Paul reminds Timothy of what his life was built upon, an unfeigned, real, true faith. A faith that came from the deep roots of his family and heritage. And Paul tells Timothy, I am fully convinced, it is in you also.
Timothy, remember the foundation of faith you stand upon. Paul goes on and says its not just the past that gives you the courage you need, it is also what God has given you right now in the present. He tells Timothy…
Remember The Gifts of God vss. 6-7
2 Timothy 1:6-7 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
This gift was given by the laying on of Paul’s hands when Timothy was ordained. It may have been a sign gift because those were still in operation during Paul’s early ministry, it may have been the gift of authority, the gift of leadership conferred from Paul to Timothy. Not a gift of apostolic succession for the Bible teaches no such thing. If it did it would certainly teach it here as Paul was awaiting execution. Not the laying on of hands in the Old Testament, the New Testament and even today is a public show of God’s authority for leadership passed from one generation of God’s leaders to the next generation. Timothy had been given that gift and it was important he remembered.
Paul says this gift that needed to be stirred up. The word means that the embers needed to be fanned back into a burning flame. The gift was still there but it was not working the way it should be in Timothy’s life.
And it needed to be working for Paul reminds Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear. The word here is δειλία (deilia). It is only used once in the Bible and it means fear, timidity, fearfulness, even cowardice.
It could be that Timothy had a personal characteristic of fear. Growing up in a Roman / Greek world with Greek father and a Jewish mother would very likely make him the object of bullying and being an outcast. Easy to be fearful when you’re all alone. It could also be that Timothy was afraid not so much for himself but for Paul and for so many other brother and sisters in Christ, that were under threat, arrest or like Paul awaiting death. Wherever it come from that spirit, that emotion, that curse of fear was not from God.
Now Paul gives Timothy a Trinity of Triumph for Fighting Fear. Power, Love and a Sound Mind.
Paul says, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, the Greek word is dunamis, we get our English words, dynamic, and dynamite from this word. It means an active empowering force. It is what drives us onward as Christians.
The next part of the trinity of triumph. Timothy, God does not give a spirit of timidity, but of love. This is the word agape, which is self-giving, self-sacrificing love. The love the took Jesus to the cross to die for us and put Paul in a prison to die for Jesus is the awaiting death, is the same love you need to remember to overcome fearfulness. Remember it, depend on it because nothing can intimidate this gift of love.
Finally, Timothy, God has not given us a spirit of cowardice but the spirit of a sound mind, a mind that is disciplined not diverted, self-controlled not fear controlled because our mind, our self, has been placed under Holy Spirit’s control.
What Paul reminded Timothy of from a prison cell, I am reminding you of from a pulpit. It is not nearly as dark for us as it was for them, but fear can still bind us and put us in our own prison of timidity, cowardice and stagnation instead of serving God. So remember these things…