The most potent and convincing “outer” proof or testimony besides the Spirit’s inner testimony and our faith that God actually guides and directs our steps in whatever commission we are called to carry out is suffering. Paul wrote to Timothy about the suffering he was called to endure as if that is the most natural thing in the world. To partake in Christ’s suffering is the safe-guard, as it were, that we truly are moved by the Spirit of God in our unique faith battles. Paul likens Timothy with a soldier who is indwelled by a Spirit of power, love and right mind and not a Spirit of timidity and fear. Qualities any devoted soldier desires to possess. What else can we then do than to say that by the Spirit those qualities are ours despite whatever contradictory and conflicting emotions we are facing?
The soul is the express image of our spirits like Jesus was the express image of the Father. That we are whole persons operating completely in sync in all areas must of necessity mean that our souls are expressions of God since it is with His Spirit we now as new creations are yoked. Our great challenge is, however, that our souls are conditioned to respond to what they are fed by the five senses and the five natural senses can only relate to appearances. The renewing of the mind in this context means that we are by the Spirit trained to operate by the senses of our spirit which always yield correct and reliable understanding and knowing to us and the primary and most imminent of the spirit’s senses is faith and faith finds its validity by suffering.
All this points to the fact that our five natural senses can be fooled and lied to by how a thing looks outwardly and if the impressions the senses relate to our minds are faulty and erroneous it will affect our faith and our outlook and what we reproduce. Thus we maintain that we are indwelled by a Spirit of love, power and a right mind no matter outer circumstances. And the law of faith says that it will be unto us according to our faith. The spoken word cannot miscarriage. Paradoxically we live by the faith of the Son and simultaneously the scriptures speak about faith as something we possess. Both are of course true, and we are all given a measure of faith and more is meted out to us according to the faith with which we mete out.
Jesus said that of Himself He could do nothing, and that is the liberating truth that we all somehow have to face before we can find our rest in God. Christ desires to prove that He is our life in all areas, so walled city after walled city of self-effort have to crumble and be laid in ruins before the Christ consciousness can come to maturity in us. The more subtle the area of which we believe we reign the more fierce the battle to lay it open and bare as a falsehood or deception. And when the vessel analogy finally becomes more than a theory or concept to us we in truth recognize that the power that governs our lives is not of ourselves. The inner teacher’s end objective of taking us from glory to glory is to make us safe sons trusting what is expressed by us in all things, and that we at all times recognize the Source that is willing and doing in us.
After having written the above inspired by Paul’s second letter to Timothy I posed the following question to John Collings: “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”. (2 Tim 1:6). Have you any idea what Paul means by this? How do we fan into the flame the gift of God?
This is John’s reply:
This was not an answer that was written in the margin of my bible or was it anything that I had already considered. I woke at 5 this morning and have considered your question for several house having read 1st and 2nd Timothy to put the question in context. It seems important to me not only for your question, but also an answer that I need as well.
Faith was the obvious easy answer as it was also given by Timothy’s mother and grandmother and drew me immediately to Ephesians 2:8 that faith is the gift of God, that is for us all. With context and trying to understand Paul’s heart. This “Gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands” appears to be something more. Paul goes on to describe in detail in this letter the way others have turned on him. I think the gift is not the gift of faith that God has given all, but it is to Timothy the gift of the mystery of the Gospel that Timothy received from Paul, the same mystery that has been revealed to you and to me, but is not clear to all.
The fanning into flame appears to be an admonition to not get caught up in the wisdom of this world as were the other distracters of Paul (1 Tim 3:10), but to continue in all confidence living an undistracted life. Paul tells Timothy that he is at the end of his life and that he has placed are embers of truth that are not alive in others and that Timothy should stay away from arguments and even common sense wisdom that only distract even seem to quench what we have been given. We don’t need to be dragged into their questions that go no where and the Father hasn’t given to them to know the answers.
It also has become clear to me that these embers are fanned through our single eyed vision and the bull dogged fervency that we refuse to be drawn into the common things that others around us count as important. I mean stuff (possessions, wealth, insurance, retirement, health) as well as easy answers from those in all areas of authority. As all is from God then all of our answers are also from Him, all of our provision is from Him, all of our direction is from Him.
With this in mind then what I have written is truth for me and clearly no more than a possible clue for you to accept or to reject. That is our strength, my friend, as we each follow the inner leading of the Spirit and usually find that we often continue to walk the same direction. I am pleased that we know the same path. He is the Way, He is our Path. In Him there is no deviation from it because it is Him.