In a recent Skype call with my son in Australia, he mentioned that they had to light the wood burner as the temperature had dropped to around 12 degrees!
Here, the sun was shining and we were enjoying a lovely summer’s day, but in Australia it’s winter and they were feeling the cold!! My heart bled for them!!
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 has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. And don’t be ashamed of me, either, even though I’m in prison for Him. With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Gospel2 Timothy 1:6-8
Paul’s picture of a fire is a helpful and vivid one. Lighting a coal fire, for example, begins with stacking twists of paper or twigs. However, although they light easily unless you add the coal at the right moment, they will soon burn through and the fire goes out.
Timothy’s foundation of faith, rooted in his godly upbringing by a Christian mother and grandmother (Eunice and Lois), had got him started on a lifetime of serving God, but he needed fuel to keep burning for God. This had come when, at some point, Paul laid hands on Timothy thus imparting spiritual gifts as well as a commission. It provided the fire within his heart that enabled him to minister in difficult situations despite his relative youth.
But Paul knew that fire can go out. Even, at times, adding too much wood or coal can choke the flames instead of stoking them. And, it’s possible to pour cold water on flames, reducing them to a sizzle in a moment.
Fear can act like water on our inner fire. We might feel a burning within us as we sense God’s call or hear Him speaking. It’s easy to get ‘all fired up’ with enthusiasm and zeal (perhaps in Church or at a Conference by responding to a challenge) only to find that our passions fizzle away at the first sign of opposition or when life becomes ‘routine’ once again or when anxiety creeps in and erodes our confidence.
This is why Paul reminds not only Timothy but also us today, that we have been given a spirit of power, love and self-discipline – good fuel to be added to any well-built fire!
Be encouraged and open to the Holy Spirit working in and through you. ‘For He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world’…….
‘Consuming fire, fan into flame a passion for Your name.
Spirit of God, fall in this place. Lord have Your way in us’……