Fanning the flame

Flame fanning

This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. – 2 Timothy 1:6

Hebrews 5:8-14

 8 Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.

 10 And God designated him to be a High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

 11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen.

 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.

 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right.

 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.

General Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, sent the following note to those subordinate to him: “The tendency of fire is to go out; watch the fire on the altar of your heart.” Anyone who has watched and tended the flames of a fireplace is well aware that to keep it going it needs to be stirred up occasionally.

The Father has deposited in children of the King spiritual gifts and abilities and plotted out a life of fulfillment in the Father’s service. The Father Himself ignites a fire within our hearts. Many of us, when we first become His children we are often bursting with enthusiasm, joy, love, and an overwhelming urge to love and serve the Father. So it was with Saul when he became the apostle Paul.

Acts 9:18-22

 18 [Saul] regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.

 19 Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days.

 20 And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”

 21 All who heard him were amazed. . .

 22 Saul’s preaching became more and more powerful, and the Jews in Damascus could not refute his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Messiah.

Sadly, for many of us the fire wanes, the heat diminishes, we slow down and get mired in the events of everyday life. We forget our First Love and become dull and listless.

Untended fires soon become just a pile of ashes.

Timothy not only received gifts and was tasked with his mission. He was spiritually enabled to perform the work that the Father had for him to do. Alas, the fire of the Father’s gift is capable of going out through neglect.

Perhaps Timothy had lost some of his zeal for the gospel. Paul encourages him to stir it up once again. I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. (2 Timothy 1:6).

Timothy had a singular all-encompassing personal responsibility. He had to fan the flames and keep the fire hot within. Paul was exhorting him to shake the ashes off the God-given fire within him.

The Greek term translated kindle afresh is anazopureo, from anaup or again, zoosalive, and pur– fire. This word is used only here in the entire New Testament. Literally it describes the act of reviving a fire that has gone out.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

But evidently Timothy was timid and held back. In no uncertain terms, Paul reminded him that a spirit of timidity is not from the Father. When children of the King become fearful and shrink back, we are encouraged to remember that is not the Father’s intention that we recoil and move backwards. He intends to break the bondage of fear and self-deprecation and energize us to do His will.

The Father never takes away the spiritual gifts He bestows upon us (Romans 11:29), but they can lose their sharp edge of effectiveness through our neglect (Stanley).


FDR said it well, “There is nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

Father more than once the fire in my heart has grown dim. Encourage me anew to keep it going and burn brightly.


2 Timothy 1:12 I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

Paul had an open secret, he was not fearful or ashamed, because he knew that the Father was faithful and would keep him going until the end.

Paul provides us with a subtle reminder with his emphasis on the person of Christ, “I know whom I have believed.”

Salvation is not the result of believing certain doctrines, though doctrines are important. As unbelievers we are mired in our sins. We are saved because we believe in a Person, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul had entrusted his soul in the care and keeping of the Savior, and Paul was sure that the Lord Jesus Christ would faithfully guard and protect that deposit (Wiersbe).

Jeremiah 20:9 But if I say I’ll never mention the LORD or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!


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