February 29, 2008
Fan the Flame
by Fred Albert, Crosswalk.com Manager of Communities
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
You probably won't be surprised to learn that I like fire. No… I love to have a fire in the fireplace. Drives my wife nuts I'm sure.
Is it chilly outside? Let's start a fire in the fireplace.
Is it too warm outside to put a fire in the fireplace? Great! Let's fire up the barbeque.
Oh, we don't have burgers or hotdogs? Ok, how about I just light the campfire pit in the back.
Yeah, I like fire so it is no wonder that when Paul starts talking about fire and fanning flames that it he is going to get my attention.
We like to think that God gives us certain gifts and there is never anything else required from us. Paul, however, reminds Timothy that he must do something. He must fan them into flame.
When I read this I think of a small fire, one that has only just begun. It is smoldering and smoking but it has yet to really catch on. It is going to take some work on Timothy's part (and ours) to bring this little flame to a roaring fire. He's going to need to tend the fire, blow on it, fan it, add some more to it and bring it to a blaze.
Next, Paul tells us three things that God has given us.
God has given us a spirit of power.
When I think of someone with power I think of someone who has exhibited some sort of strength or boldness. This is the outward manifestation of strength and boldness. I like to think of this being just the opposite of the spirit of fear that Paul addressed just before.
God has given us a spirit of love.
This is the outward action of showing love and compassion for others. This is not self-motivated rather it is others motivated.
God has given us a spirit of self-discipline.
This is the inward action of denying your own impulses for the sake of someone else. In my job in dealing with people this seems to be the spirit that a lot of people have failed to fan into flame. The people that I deal with tend to completely do away with self-discipline and instead fan the flame of their anger or the anger of others.
What area have you failed to fan into flame?
Intersecting Faith & Life: It may be snowing outside and near freezing but it is never too late to do something wild and crazy and cook some hotdogs on the grill. Do some grilling and while you're turning the brats or flipping the burgers consider what areas in your life that you need to fan into flame.