This refers to the fact that, prior to enlisting Timothy to be his partner in ministry, God spoke to Paul and told him to commission him. At that time, Paul probably had further words from God concerning Timothy and his ministry but they were not shared (we will look at this further as we near the end of this letter).

The "gift of God" that Paul speaks of is the power of the Holy Spirit and, evidently, Timothy had been a Christian at the time that Paul met him in Lystra but he did not have the ability to hear the Spirit. In preparation for the ministry and the battle against Satan, Paul and the elders laid their hands on Timothy and prayed for God to allow him to understand the Holy Spirit.

Now, Paul urges him to "fan into flame" that gift but, what does that mean? Just like blowing on the embers from a fire can cause flames to grow, Paul is urging his "son" to grow in his faith strength. This is talking about his ability to listen and follow the prompting of the Spirit in his life. As with anything else, the more that we do something, the easier it becomes and it finally becomes something that we do not even need to think about. In our last study, we saw that a sincere faith causes us to do things in service. Now, we see that we do not just go and do random acts of service but, instead, we listen and follow the direction of the Spirit to serve where and how God directs us.