We probably all know this scripture and may even quote it from time to time, but do we have a real and living understanding of what it means?

2Ti 1:7
(7) For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

The context of this scripture is that as Paul was regularly thinking about Timothy, as he was constantly in his mind, and as he meditated upon him, he prayed for him. During this time, it came to his remembrance that Lois, Timothy's grandmother, and Eunice, his mother were also people of great faith and he wrote to encourage Timothy to stir up the gift of God (2Ti_1:6) which was in him through Paul laying his on on him. He then went on in this verse to remind Timothy what the gift of God was.

When Paul wrote about the gift of God, he used the word G5486 charisma (char'-is-mah) that Strong translates as follows:

From G5483; a (divine) gratuity, that is, deliverance (from danger or passion); (specifically) a (spiritual) endowment, that is, (subjectively) religious qualification, or (objectively) miraculous faculty: - (free) gift.

This free gift of God, this charisma, was given to Timothy when Paul laid his hands upon him and imparted it to him. This impartation of something from God is not some individual miracle that we have just read about. It is seen again and again in the bible. Paul wrote about it to the church in Rome.

Rom 1:11
(11) For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, to you for the establishing of you.

The gift that was imparted to people was not always the same. God can give to whoever He wants, whatever He wants, whenever He wants and in any way that He wants. However, there is a principle that God has established that we see repeated many times. That principle is the impartation through the laying on of hands.

Act 8:17-18
(17) Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
(18) And when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,

Simon saw this principle in action and wanted to buy it from the apostles so that he could use it for himself, but the way that God chooses to work through us is not for sale. You just can't buy from someone that which isn't theirs to sell.

Equally, you also can't give to someone that which isn't yours to give; you can't impart to someone that which you don't have. But, when you have received an impartation of the free gift, you have it for a reason. God wants you to do something with it. Paul told Timothy in his first letter to not neglect this gift, this charisma, that was imparted to him.

1Ti 4:14-15
(14) Do not neglect the gift in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the body of elders.
(15) Meditate on these things; be in these things in order that your improvement may appear to all.

There was something Timothy's was not doing. We know this because Paul chose to write to him on this subject in two separate letters. His first letter was probably written around AD 63-65 and his second letter around AD 66-67. So we can see that Timothy hadn't been active in using this gift for some time. Paul used his letters to address this issue in his life

We see a very similar thing being addressed in another letter to the early Jewish believers

Heb 6:1-3
(1) Therefore, having left the discourse of the beginning of Christ, let us go on to full growth, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
(2) of the baptisms, of doctrine, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
(3) And this we will do, if God permits.

Here we see the instruction being put gently as they are encouraged to grow up, to come to maturity in their understanding of these things. They are encouraged to stop talking about it and start doing it as God permits.

The difficulty is that if you are focused on discussing these things, it holds you back from being active in doing these things. God never gave you the gift for you to hide it away somewhere and let it go rusty. He gave it to you so that you could use it. Jesus was very clear about this when He gave instructions to His disciples.

Mat 10:8
(8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. You have received freely, freely give.

He didn't expect those disciples to go out and do things that nobody else would ever do again. The commandment that He gave to them is the same as He wants you to hear now.

Mar 16:17-18
(17) And miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things: in My name they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues;
(18) they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will be well.

This is the gift that God has for you. With this gift, you will also be able to do these things. He desires that you come to maturity in your knowledge of His word and start to do the things that He desires you to do.