Oxygen for the Fire
“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, NLT)
My husband and I always dreamed of having a wood-burning fireplace. In the cooler months, we would swoon at the smell of firewood burning as we drove through neighborhoods.
Last summer, our dream came true. God blessed us with a home that included a beautiful wood-burning fireplace. Not only that, but the previous owner left us stacks of wood to carry us through our first winter in our new home. Score!
But as city kids, we had lots to learn about getting a fire going. We had only used a wood-burning fireplace a handful of times, and it was always with a clean-burning log that did all the work for us.
I soon realized that the roaring fire we see in movies takes more work than I anticipated. With the aid of some firestarter sticks, the fire would take off in a blaze of glory. But 15 minutes later, it would die down. The next thing I knew, my once glorious fire was just a pile of embers.
“It needs oxygen,” I concluded after my brain scanned my internal archive of fire knowledge. I grabbed my handy, brand-new bellow, which I had picked up at the local home improvement store, and slowly pushed air into the fireplace.
As more air circulated through the wood, I could see the embers glowing brighter. Little flames were beginning to grow. As I continued to fan air into the fireplace, seemingly out of nowhere my fire was back in full force!
So that’s what the Bible means when it says “fan into flames”!
With a quick internet search, I found the passage the Holy Spirit was directing me toward:
“I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother, Eunice. And I know that same faith continues strong in you. 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 1:5-6, NLT).
The Apostle Paul was talking to Timothy, his mentee and an evangelist and leader in the early Church. Timothy’s heritage of faith was passed down from his Jewish mother (Eunice) and her mother (Lois). As Paul reminded him of his calling, Paul encouraged Timothy not just to keep the faith but to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave him.
Paul understood that, like a fire, our faith and our ability to operate in our spiritual gifts can start strong, but through time and circumstance, the fire can wane to a pile of smoldering embers, giving off little warmth or light.
But there is hope! The embers of our faith can be restored with spiritual oxygen. For me, “oxygen” can look like rising early, while everyone else is still asleep, to spend a few uninterrupted minutes in the Word of God. It looks like choosing my favorite worship song and singing the lyrics as my prayer to God as I drive. And in desperate times, it means doing whatever is necessary to clear my schedule to retreat alone with the Lord for a weekend or even a day.
To burn bright, our faith requires intentional care — not just once but again and again, consistently. Don’t be discouraged when your faith burns low. God knew we would need to fan our faith into flames over and over, so He gave us His Word and His Holy Spirit.
The next time you think your faith is almost out, give it a thrust of intentional oxygen to quickly rekindle the fire. Then keep it going by using your spiritual gifts to serve others in the name of Jesus.
Father, how blessed we are that You would give each of us precious spiritual gifts! Let us not take our faith for granted. But if we find ourselves in a season where our faith looks like embers, gently nudge us to feed the fire of our faith with Your oxygen. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
OUR FAVORITE THINGS
Some days it's easy to wonder: How can so much hurt exist? Why does it feel like the world is on fire? And is there anything I can do about it? And in those moments, it can feel like there’s nothing else you can do to help solve all the problems. But there’s one thing that always makes a difference: prayer. That's why we created a new free resource, “When It Feels Like Nothing Can Help: What To Pray in the Hard Moments,” to help you to pray through Scripture when finding the right words to pray just feels impossible. Click here to download now.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
1 Peter 4:10-11, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” (NLT)
What is the condition of your “fire” of faith? What does spiritual “oxygen” look like for you? Take inventory of your spiritual gifts and find ways to use them.
Let us hear from you! Add your thoughts about today’s devotion in the comments.
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