I love fire. Okay, okay, I acknowledge that at times the fire has burned ‘out-of-control,’ but the flames, the crackling, who can resist?
One of my favourite texts (Romans 12:11) as translated by the Amplifed Bible exhorts, “Be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord.” In 2 Timothy 1, this is exactly the same sentiment Paul as the mentor urges his younger associate.
“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.”
Flames die down. Raging fires reduce to smouldering ashes unless granted fresh fuel. Spiritual energy depletes with the challenges of time and difficulty. Timothy was losing his zeal. It happens. Alot! Someone who appears to be ‘on fire for Jesus’ may be set aside and lose the zeal which accomplished so much.
Paul urges this fanning into flame. Timothy, don’t let the embers die down, stoke the fire. As long as there is life, there is hope to renew our first love, to reignite the passion that burned in service for our King.
Timothy was gifted. Paul, as an apostolic founder of the church and builder, had laid hands on Timothy, commissioning him for gospel work. I’m sure they both recalled that occasion, perhaps as Timothy was deputized to join the Ephesian elders as part of the leadership team. But that was some years back, that was part of ministry history.
The challenge for all servants of Christ is to keep their devotion ‘white-hot,’ to renew their ‘first love’ for the Master who has appointed them to His service. Will you pray for those who serve vocationally in ministry? Will you urge them to ‘fan into flame‘ their gift that the Spirit of God mighty shine gospel light through their lives.
Read the following hymn prayerfully and pray it for leaders whom you know who are called to serve. A.W. Tozer spoke of ‘the fellowship of the burning heart.’ Of all the groups to which one might aspire to belong, surely that group should attract lifetime membership. Amen!
Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart
Spirit of God, descend upon my heart.
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
and make me love Thee as I ought to love.
I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel vision, no opening skies;
but take the dimness of my soul away.
Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.
Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see the cross, there teach me to cling:
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!
Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The presence of Thy descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.