“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 you a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7
I’ve recently started enjoying making fires. Let me explain that when I say this, I’m meaning fires in fireplaces, I have always respected Mr. Smokey Bear. Being able to create a fire in a fireplace, starting small and then building up into a fire that can warm a space is calming for me. What I’ve been able to see is that there is a key element in burning, you can’t suffocate the fire and you need to fan the flames. Fanning the flames allows for oxygen to enter into the mix, and fire can only burn if oxygen is present. I have been reading through Paul’s letters and I have begun to love the way Paul encourages Timothy. Timothy is a part of the next generation of leaders and Paul is pouring into his life, encouraging him to remain faithful even when life seems tough.
My word for this year is faithful, living into what I know is true. As I read through the accounts of the early church, I am thankful for the blessings I have in my own life. The freedom to believe in my God without the fear of an empire that wishes to kill me. Yet, I still have fear. I still have doubts that I’m not good enough or that I won’t be able to make a difference. I give fear a stronghold where it doesn’t belong. The enemy likes to make us feel unworthy and that we don’t have what it takes, but you do have what it takes. You were not made to let fear crush you, with the spirit you have power, love, and self-discipline.
Gather the right supplies and make a strong foundation.
On a recent fire making endeavor, dear Danielle and I were at a cabin for Christmas. The night we drove up it rained, but the next day that rain turned into snow. There was a fireplace, but I hadn’t gotten any dry wood to bring. I decided to scavenge for dry-ish wood, and I found what I thought would be good. The only thing was, it was frozen, so in my attempt to find the right materials, I ended up putting in a lot of effort with no real return. I think we do similar actions in our own lives. We try to do the right thing, but it’s based out of what we think is best, even when the truth is that it will only hurt us.
I find myself having to continually check in with my pursuits, because I want to make sure I am listening to God and not my own wants. This means I have to have the right foundation. I want to be certain that I am reading scripture and meditating on it. Just like building a fire, start small and keep adding, eventually you’ll have a raging fire that won’t stop.
Power, love, and self-discipline.
I love that Paul encourages Timothy that he has not been given a timid spirit, that’s the lie the enemy will tell all of us. That we are not worthy of making a difference. As Paul says, we have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. This means a few things. The first is that you are strong, you have great power, you can breathe life into others and guide them into freedom. You have a deep love, capable of rebuking the hate in our world and acting out of love to help everyone around you. You have perseverance and passion that will allow you to grow from who you were and into who you have been created to be.
These three gifts that come from the spirit allows for that fire in side of us to change our hearts. We are not the same as we were yesterday and we should never strive to become complacent with who we are. I’m so thankful I’m not the same person I was in high school or college, I forever want to continue to press into the spirit and grow closer to Jesus.
My new love of fire making has helped me understand how to live into my word for the year. When I choose to be faithful, it means living out what I believe. It means trusting God even when I don’t understand the reason for the directions. Being faithful is showing me that I need to fan the flames of the spirit in my life in order to burn away the old and step into the new creation God has designed me to be.
Fan the flames of faith in your life. Make a strong foundation in your life so that you can be rooted in truth. You have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
About the Author: Joshua Thomas is a writer by day and superhero by night. When he’s not writing and crimefighting, you can find him reading a good book, sipping warm tea, taking pictures, or dreaming. The young writer doesn’t fully know what he’s doing, but is enjoying the journey of it all. You can follow his hipster photos and Jack Kerouac musings on Instagram @joshua_thomas__