I have a confession. I’m a church kid. Which means I grew up hearing Scripture my whole life and I’m ever so thankful for it. (Mom and Dad, thank you.) The challenge is that sometimes the verses I can inwardly quote hang disconnected from their surrounding texts. That’s why I often take one book of the Bible and read it over and over again. So much richness emerges when I’m enjoying the sweeping story of an letter or story. Lately, I’ve been doing that with 1 Timothy.  Because the Word is alive, I find those familiar words I can quote in my sleep call me beyond casual interpretation to a life more fully free in Him.

This is one of those verses. 

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

II Timothy 1:6-7 NKJV

Have you ever noticed how fear loves to set the agenda?

As one who has grappled with my fair share with fear, I would argue that fear’s goal is to get us to live in a defensive posture. God, Who fashioned us in His image, designed us to live out our unique expression as image-bearers totally free from the constraints of anything not found in His eyes and His big ‘ole giant heart.

Fear, the defeated foe, seeks to take us out. Why? To mute our expression as image-bearers. The goal of conquering fear is not just peace, although that’s fully provided for. The aim of conquering fear is the same thing that casts it out (1 John 4:18). Love. We were made in the image of Love for love and with love. (Genesis 1:26, 1 John 4:7-8)

Let me ask you a question.

What’s in you that’s begging for expression? Have you regarded certain gifts within you with more regard than others? If so, why? Maybe you’re not sure you have gifts. I challenge you to sit with your coffee and notebook and ask God: “What gifts have you put inside of me?” And listen.

When it’s Jesus you’re hearing, you’ll know it. His voice is the one Who delights over you. His voice does not sound like pressure. He sounds like invitation. He sounds like the Papa who wants you to crawl up on His lap and show Him the picture you drew, and tell Him all about the world on the other side of that page that you – treasured you – dreamed up.

He’s the friend that says, “You can do this.” When we fall, He picks us us up. When we soar, He laughs and celebrates with us. When we slip into striving, He pulls us back to Grace. He kindly reminds us that our gift given in secret is just as beautiful and important as the gift served in the presence of people. He helps us see that when we change a diaper, send a note, feed the hungry, work with excellence and stop for the one, we are handling and tasting the Kingdom of God. 

What’s your gift? Stir it up. I think we’ll all find ourselves coming alive like never before. 

I’d love to hear from you. What are the biggest fears that try to stop you from being you? What gifts do you love giving to the people around you?

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