FANNING THE FLAME

“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.”
II Timothy 1:6

Paul admonishes his son in the faith to “stir up the gift of God.” This phrase paints a very interesting picture. To stir up means “to re-kindle or fan a flame.” One must assume that Paul recognized the need for Timothy to be stirred up. The implication is that our spiritual fire can grow dim and needs to be fanned back to fervency.

Most of us have been there in our spiritual lives. There have been times when we have let our enthusiasm or zeal diminish. Paul’s language reminds us of those times around a campfire when the fire died down and the embers lost their glow. We have seen the transformation that takes place when that neglected fire gets some much-needed attention. Just stirring the coals or fanning the flame can restore the fire to its previous radiance. It is apparent that Timothy, like many of us, needed to be encouraged from time to time not to shrink back in his service to Christ. He was reminded in II Timothy 1:7 that God had not given him the “spirit of fear.” In I Timothy 4:12, Paul told Timothy to “Let no man despise thy youth.” Perhaps his youthfulness was a part of the reason for his timidity. In any case, it helps us identify with Timothy when we recognize the personal weaknesses that we also have.

Like Timothy, we have all been given the spiritual equipment we need to fulfill God’s will for our lives. However, at times, our spiritual fire loses its luster, often because of neglect. We have not provided the fuel to keep the fire burning brightly. We need to tend to the fire in our souls. Maintaining the fire is partly accomplished through meaningful daily devotions. As we pray, and let God’s Word speak to our hearts, confessing our sins to God regularly, we find that the flames of our spiritual lives stay burning. Sin quenches the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. The Spirit of God wants to fill and flow out of us in ministry to others. When He is grieved by our compromise or disobedience, our lives will not have the influence and impact that they should.

When responded to and obeyed, the preaching and teaching of God’s Word keeps the blaze going in our lives. For those who know the Lord as Savior, a fire has been ignited in their souls. From time to time, it needs to be re-kindled and fanned; then, it will burn brightly for the Lord.