“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God whom I serve, as did my ancestors, with a clear conscience, as I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day. As I remember your tears, I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:1–7, ESV)
What does one say to someone that you have loved like a son when the end of this earthly life draws near? They speak words of grace and encouragement which is what the Apostle Paul does as he pens this letter to Timothy. He reminds Timothy that God has called him to be an apostle, and this call is the result of the life that can only be found in Christ Jesus. Great tenderness is communicated to Paul's beloved child in the faith. This love is brought about by the unmerited favor, undeserved blessing, and unfathomable peace from God the Father and Jesus Christ the Lord. Paul is filled with thankfulness as he faces death and is separated from this beloved son in the faith. His conscience is clear, and he is ready for the life to come. Paul prays for Timothy constantly, and he is well acquainted with the trials that he faces as a minister. Trials from without like the brutal emperor Nero and trials from within the church from the false teachers and those abandoning the faith. He remembers the tears shed as he departed and he longs to be with Timothy to experience the joy that accompanies the fellowship of this beloved one.
Paul knows Timothy possesses a sincere faith. The evidence of grace was seen in Timothy's family in both his grandmother Lois and his mother, Eunice. Paul has great confidence in the faith that dwells within Timothy. He offers a reminder to fan into flame the gift that God has given him which was confirmed in the community of faith through the laying on of hands. Timothy does not have to fear his circumstances or any condemnation because of the faith. There is power, love, and self-control which is brought about by the Spirit. How does one fan the flames of faith? By looking to Jesus, the author, champion, and pioneer of our faith. His beauty and glory will fan the flames of affection and increase our faith. Look to Jesus beloved.