“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” (2 Timothy 1:6).
The words “stir up” can be translated as “fan the flame”, therefore as believers we ought to be all fired up with regards to the spiritual gifts that God has given us. There is absolutely no excuse or reason for allowing the gifts to lay dormant in our lives, but instead we should be increasing and abounding in their use. The gifts are given so that we can be on fire for the Lord as we live for Him and testify about Him.
Neglecting the gifts
“Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery” (1 Timothy 4:14).
Why do we not seek the gifts anymore? The answer is largely due to being put off by all the crazy things some Pentecostal preachers have said and done, but then, is that not exactly what the devil wants? He does not want true believers excelling in any of the blessings of the Spirit, for if we did, his hold on the church would be broken. It is important to note from the outset that the gifts are not just those we usually refer to as the Gifts of the Spirit, but the term does include them. The Bible speaks of three types or areas of gifts:  Spiritual gifts, “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11).  Ministry gifts, “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).  Teaching gifts, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Paul encourages believers not to “neglect” what we have received. This is a negative word that demands a positive response from each one of us. If we tie it in with “stir up” we see that rather than any gift being static they have to be powerful in our lives. This calls for assertiveness on our part for it is easier to neglect them rather than use them. “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). Unless we have an opt out clause in our covenant with God, “every man” must refer to everyone who belongs to Christ. Therefore not using the gift means we are not ministering the way God intended.
Desiring the gifts
“But covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Corinthians 12:31) … “Desire spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1).
It is troubling to see how zealous we can be over things that interest us. We would expend great effort to claim that which we feel belongs to us in the world, but show extremely little concern for spiritual things. Notice that Paul uses the word “covet” to describe the earnest desire we ought to have for the gifts. The tenth commandment says, “Thou shalt not covet” (Exodus 20:17), therefore the apostle uses a very potent word indeed! Sadly we covet what we should not and covet not what we ought. Once again, in not earnestly coveting and desiring the gifts we fail not only the Lord but also His church. “Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church” (1 Corinthians 14:12). Who today is truly excelling in these things?
Someone might object by saying that using the gifts could cause a person to exalt themselves rather than the Lord. This is obviously and evidently true, but just because some may use God-given gifts to rob Him of glory does not mean we should rob Him of glory by not using them. We will always honour the Lord if we “Walk in the Spirit” rather than fulfilling “the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16). If we did walk in the Spirit we would find that the desire for spiritual things would supplant the lust of the flesh. Let us remember that our desire to be used by God is linked to the faith we have in Him. “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
The desire for the gifts is like being extremely thirsty for a cup of water on a hot day. A man dying of thirst in a scorching desert only has one thing on his mind – water. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit …)” (John 7:37-39). Are we thirsty enough yet? Do we really desire to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18)?
The fact is that the Lord is more willing to give us the gifts than we are to receive. Maybe we know that God has given us a gift to use for His glory but have chosen to neglect it. That is not only wasteful but sinful too. “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:15-16). God never intended the church to hide in the shadows but to stand in the brilliant light of His glory. If we neglect the gifts by hiding them from view, how are we ever going to get the job done? “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:15-18).