I think that Paul is saying that our spiritual gifts are like the experience of starting a fire. Just because you have the gift doesn’t mean that it will by itself grow and become a great thing that’s a blessing to other people. You have to work at that; you have to fan it into flame. You have to rekindle it if necessary; you have to blow on it in order that it might become all that it should be. Paul does not want Timothy to be passive about his spiritual gift, waiting for God to accomplish his work. Rather, he wants Timothy and us to work hard at serving him and using the gifts he has given us. 

As I read this first chapter of 2 Timothy, I see Paul giving Timothy three charges. First of all, he tells him in verse 6 to fan into flame the gift that God has given him. Secondly, in verse 8 he tells Timothy not to be ashamed to testify about our Lord. Then thirdly, in verse 14, Paul tells Timothy to guard the good deposit, that is, the gospel, that was entrusted to him. 

If you’re a Christian you’re already in the battle. You might be finding it difficult right now. You might feel like giving up and stopping to fight for righteousness, godliness, and those other things we need to practice and stand up for. But the Lord has put you in his army. He wants to use you. You’re either going to be a faithful soldier, or you’re going to be an unfaithful soldier. You’re either going to be a victor, or you’re going to be a failure. You can’t fight this good fight of the faith on your own, but the Lord Jesus Christ can give you the strength to be the victor. Ask him to strengthen you, and then fight on in the battle that he’s given you to fight. 

Paul tells us to be on guard against the danger of wealth, and to have our priorities right. What’s the cure against putting our own selfish interests ahead of God’s? Paul says the cure is godliness with contentment. What does that mean? It means having Godlike qualities, keeping close to God and being content with godliness and what resources he blesses us with. If God gives other things that enable us to prosper, we are to praise him for that, and use our excess to bless others. But if he does not bless us with wealth, we are to be content with what we have, and are not to strive after more and more. Our main pursuit is a godly life. 

There’s a great danger in wealth because it tends to get a hold of you and control you, rather than your controlling it and using it well for the good of others. Have you ever asked the question why it seems to be that as you look out across the Christian church, there are so few rich Christians? Well, it might be that it’s hard to become a Christian if you’re wealthy. Jesus said that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, likening it to a camel going through the eye of a needle. Another thing to consider is that Christians might not make the best choices if they come into a lot of money.