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 the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6,7
God has made me a learner, self-assured, eager for the input of others, value-driven, and able to put things and people in the places that set them up for success. How has God gifted you? Has he made you comfortable in front of crowds? Hard-working? Attentive to detail? A careful thinker? He has made you: body, soul, and mind. That means you have characteristics as unique to you as that birthmark behind your left elbow. Those gifts that he’s given to you have been laid at your feet for a purpose, “for the good of those who love him.”
That was certainly true of Timothy. He had gifts. And his spiritual father, Paul, saw them and encouraged them. “Fan them into flames,” he told Timothy. Don’t be content just to have them, but cultivate them, develop them, and lean into them. “They have been given to you; now make the most of them!”
Are you asking, “How do I fan my gifts into flame?” Fair question. Maybe the acronym ILPF will help (Identify – Learn – Practice – Feedback). Identify those gifts that you have. Maybe that’s a reputable assessment or asking a trusted mentor, “What do you see in me?” Then, learn about those gifts. What are they like? Who else has them? What is the danger of misusing them? Next, practice. You don’t get good at anything without endless cycles of trying and failing. That’s practice. And finally, get feedback. Ask those close to you, “I tried to use my gift. How do you think it went? What should I think about the next time?” As you live in your God-given gifts, watch as the Lord carries out his will.
Lord, thank you for these gifts I have. I know they are from you. Help me to use them in a way that builds your kingdom. Amen.
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