Paul knew first hand what Timothy would face as a preacher of the gospel, as a disciple of Christ. He didn’t tell him that it would be all roses and rainbows. He didn’t tell him to expect to never expect struggle or challenge. He tells him that he will need to fan the flame of his faith, that he will need to persevere.
So shouldn’t we too expect that we should have to fan the flame at times?
And what does Paul say to Timothy?
“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time—to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” – 2 Timothy 1:5-9 NLT
Paul speaks of “remembering” Timothy’s “genuine faith”. This is such a parallel for me to the warning in Revelation for the church at Ephesus:
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.” – Revelation 2:4-5 NLT
Yes, the danger of forgetting. The danger of not remembering. The danger of not abiding.
Isn’t this the very reason that we are called to preach the gospel, not just the law? Isn’t this the very reason that we are called to a Lord’s Supper where He tells us:
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” – Luke 22:19 NKJV
How sad is it, Christian, that we find ourselves forgetting our God, our Savior, our Lord in the middle of the distraction of this world that tries to choke the life out of us:
The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest. –
Luke 8:14-15 NLT
Yes, we should ask ourselves, “Am I good soil?” And maybe examine ourselves to truthfully answer, “Do I really believe, have I ever truly believed in my heart? Because if I truly believed He is who He says He is, wouldn’t I also believe His promises and guidance and instruction enough to follow Him faithfully?”
This isn’t a game to introduce doubt into your faith, friend – because if you are standing firmly on the solid rock of Christ, you will weather this type of self examination and the trials and treating will prove Him true and faithful. No, this is an all important question we should ask ourselves to be site that we are not deceiving ourselves:
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:22 NKJV
“For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load.” – Galatians 6:3-5 NKJV