The Holy Spirit indwells me. Therefore, I am empowered for anything God calls me to do. However, if any passion other than Christ seizes my heart and robs my affection, I quickly implode. I need Jesus before my eyes every moment.
Christian leaders burn out. Timothy did. Paul reminded him to fan into flame the gift that had burnt down to embers. We cannot live the Christian life without constant reliance upon the Spirit God placed within us. If we do, our gifts fizzle out, because we try to serve in our own strength.
This is how God designed the walk of faith.
This is a relationship, a daily interaction of love, surrender, dependence, and trust.
As Spirit-empowered believers, we must be constantly aware of our need of the Savior.
But me, I wrest myself free, flouncing away on my glorious mission, trusting to my own strengths, attending to my own scheduling. No wonder I crash and burn.
The remedy is surrender—to believe God’s words and to entrust myself to the Savior.
I am whole when I love the Lord and yield to his daily, moment-by-moment will. I am truly free when I return the Savior’s embrace, when the awl has been pounded through my earlobe, and I cling like a humble slave to the Master. Then I yield my mission, my gifts, and my schedule into his hands. They are his.
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done, but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10 NIV).
When I believe this is true, I yield all of myself, regardless of the earthly outcome.
Paul urged Timothy to follow him in complete surrender. This is only possible if Christ Jesus is fixed in our minds as the foremost consideration. We must be constantly mindful of him, a Man born of sinful stock like us, tempted in all things as we, yet God incarnate, fully God and fully Man, our Messiah, now risen from the dead.
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel” (2 Timothy 2:8).
Love. Surrender. Dependence. Trust. When Christ is our passion, the flame is fanned.
Paul wrote his last words to his spiritual son while chained in a dank dungeon awaiting death. Paul had surrendered it all, counting everything else as loss, entrusting himself, his body, his time, and the outcome of everything he said and did into the hands of Jesus. He suffered because he served the Lord wholeheartedly.
Yet Paul invited Timothy to suffer alongside him, because he knew a life-altering truth.
“I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12b NIV).
Paul believed God. If God could raise his own Son, if Jesus could rise from that death-hole, Paul knew God could raise him, too. Though Paul was chained and kept by prison guards, God’s word is never chained. A stronger Power than death guarded all Paul had entrusted to him.
Paul never knew his letter would hearten believers for millennia. It is a personal letter penned while facing a grim death. But God still uses it today. He is in charge of the outcome and the eternal reward. This is true for our lives, too. Ours is to adore him, yield to him, depend on him, and trust him, believing he is competent to guard it all. Ours is to trust him with the results.
Jesus sees what we lay down to serve him with a whole heart. He guards this gift of ourselves, this living sacrifice we prostrate upon his altar day by day. He keeps it secure until he returns to judge and reward.
Even if we don’t see the fruit, even if we’re sitting in a prison cell like Paul, even if we feel invisible or think we struggle for naught, God sees. He is able to guard what we’ve committed to him.
Love the Lord. Yield. Blow on the embers. With the Holy Spirit’s help, secure your eyes to Jesus and offer yourself again. Trust him with the outcome.