Stir Up the Gift of God
Paul L. Garlington
 
"Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that Thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Tim 1:6,7 KJV)

God is all there is of all that I am, inclusive of perfect everything. This is my eternal, unchangeable reality here and now. It is the everlasting gospel to be proclaimed to the ends of the earth and the age. My faith will not enhance it, nor will my unbelief diminish it. Hence, all that the Father has is mine. However, “we are not doing right. This day is a day of good news, but we are keeping silent.” (2 Kng 7:9) Silence does not indicate consent or agreement. Didn’t Jesus say, “Whoever shall deny me (i.e., that God is all there is of all I am), I will also deny?” (Mat 10:33)

What you deny, you disown. How can you stir up what’s not there? Nevertheless, Paul is quite insistent that there is present in each of us the very spirit of power, love and sound thinking. Since we are heirs of God, then the reality that God is the life that I am, unfolding precisely as it should is the glorious gift that I must stir up as “every day’s work requires.” Nightmarish human experiences of horrific past history can never be the basis of our action today. “Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar.” (Rom 3:9) Let us all say along with the prophet Isaiah, “For Zion’s sake, I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake, I will not keep quite until her righteousness (i.e., the consciousness of being all that the gospel says I am now) goes forth like brightness, and her salvation (deliverance from futility unto the glorious liberty of the sons of God) like a torch that is burning…On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; all day and all night they will never keep silent (serving the Lord with joy and a glad heart). You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves; and give Him no rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Is 62:1,6,7) Our goal is nothing less than that articulated by the Westminster Confession of Faith, “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

To stir up literally means to kindle or fan into a flame. Paul has no doubt about the gift resident in Timothy, but insists that the responsibility rests entirely with his son in the gospel to stir up that gift until it becomes the all-consuming zeal for the Father’s house. The imagery here is that of a pilot light (i.e., a small, permanent flame used to ignite gas at a burner) in a stove or furnace. Would you even try to heat your house with only the pilot light in your furnace, much less try to prepare a meal for your entire family with only the little flame in your kitchen stove? By the same token, there is an eternal flame resident in all of us, every ready to ignite the fuel of joyful acceptance of, “It (the vision) is so now!”, and so transform our world such that, “the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind.”

“And on that day, when evening had come, He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ And leaving the multitude, they took Him along with them, just as He was in the boat; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?’ And they became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’” (Mk 4:35-41)

Are you still, like the disciples, looking outside of yourself for a master whom you can stir up to rebuke the storm in your behalf? Or are you ready to shout out triumphantly, since God is all there is of all that I am, I am the “Master of my fate and the determiner of my destiny”? And why not? Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? Why would Jesus say to them, “Why are you so timid? How is it that you have no faith?”, unless He truly saw them as equally masters of that same circumstance as well as Himself? Would not the rebuke be unkind, to say the least, if He alone possessed the authority? Or, perhaps you are like the ancient Israelites who cried out to God in their distress, “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord”, only to hear the divine response, “Rouse yourself! Rouse yourself!…The exile will soon be set free, and will not die in the dungeon…For I am the Lord your God, who stirs up…” (Is 51:9,17,14,15)

Do you get it? To awaken is to begin to stir. We have been in a sleep of separation from God, good long enough. That glorious awareness of God, good as all there is, may be suppressed for years, but it can never be extinguished. Can you hear the thunder from heaven announcing the good news, “The exile, yes even you, will soon be set free”?

“Do not fear, O land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things…Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten…and you shall have plenty to eat and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; then my people will never be put to shame. Thus you will know that I am the Lord… there is no other.” (Joel 2:21,25,26,27)

How can I hold my peace in times like this lest the rocks should cry out in indignation against me? This is why the psalmist declared, “Thou wilt arise and have compassion on Zion; for it is time to be gracious to her… (wait a minute, how does he know this?)…for the appointed time (festive gathering) has come.” (Ps 102:13) Don’t you remember from Heartsight in a Nutshell, “the vision is yet for the appointed time”? Since the celebration of reality never ends, the appointed time is always now. Abraham, when faced with a humanly impossible vision, was asked by the Lord, “Is anything too difficult for the Lord?” He was also told that at the appointed time, God would return and he would be in possession of his very heart’s desire that previously had seemed impossible.

What do you say? Are you ready to stir the flame within you? According to Isaiah, when writing to the Babylonian captives about their impending liberation, he recommended that they:
  1. Stir themselves;
  2. Clothe themselves; and
  3. Shake themselves in order to be catapulted into a new dimension called the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Is 52).


Stir Yourself
In other words, check yourself because clearly you’ve already wrecked yourself. Stop settling! Why try to heat your house with the pilot light in your furnace when all that remains to be done is to add the necessary fuel that will give you the adequate heat? By the same token, stir yourself. Awake, arouse, and move yourself with great enthusiasm t celebrate the vision as so now. Shout for joy until the wilderness, desert and every barren place is transformed. It is time!

Clothe Yourself
Clothe yourself in strength and beauty. The joy of the Lord is our strength, and our ever increasing awareness that the vision is so now is our beautiful garment. Begin now! Say to your heartmates often, “O magnify the Lord with me and let us exalt His name together.” Do not ever allow yourself to get weary, nor discouraged until you can say, “I have glorified you on the earth.”

Shake Yourself
Even though you have slumbered and slept in a dream of separation for years, you are awake NOW. The quicker you stir yourself to joyful celebration of it is so now, the quicker you will discover the former things fading from memory. I know you still feel bound, but shake yourself. It is only and illusion. Or perhaps like the Apostle Paul, having kindled the gift of God within you into a roaring bonfire, a viper has leapt out of the flames and attached itself to you. Not to worry-this is not the Bonfire of the Vanities. Shake it off into the same blaze that you have created by stirring up the gift of God within you. Or to put it another way: It’s time to shake, rattle and roll.

When Israel established Solomon (peace) as king, “All the people went up after him, and the people were playing on flutes and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth shook at their noise.” (1 Kng 1:40) Yes, we are the movers and the shakers who will celebrate with such abandon that others will hear of all the good that God has done for us and tremble because of all the good.” (Jer 33:9)

In the words of Bob Marley, “Stir It Up!”

 
 

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