July 10, 2015

Keep the Fire Blazing

A good bonfire is meant to be seen from space. A fire that you can barely see is hardly worth having. The same is true for our spiritual lives. Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to “fan into flame” the gift that he had been given by God (2 Tim. 1:6). Some think this gift may have been Timothy’s ministry itself, a spiritual gifting, or simply the work of the Spirit in Timothy’s life helping him to serve God with a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.

The phrase “fan into flame” can be translated as “keep constantly blazing” (Wuest). It does not necessarily mean that the fire had gone out or died down, but it points to the fact that Timothy had to work to keep the fire going all of the time. It is an ongoing task. Fires burn out and die unless there are maintained. 

This applies to our spiritual lives as well. What will happen to our flame if we do not attend to the fire? For a regenerated believer, God will never let the fire go out completely—but it may smolder.

Do you ever feel that your spiritual life is smoldering? Sometimes it doesn’t seem to be giving off any heat. Instead of being visible from space, there is hardly a trace of smoke. What do you do?

How does a person attend to a literal fire? 

There is more than one way that a fire can go out. A fire needs fuel. A fire needs oxygen. A fire needs heat. Take away any of those and the fire goes out. The same is true for our spiritual fire.

We need to keep fueling our faith with the Word of God. Our faith needs to feed off the fuel of God’s promises in Scripture. That is why Paul could have hope as he awaited execution in a Roman prison—because his faith was fueled by the “promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:1).  Keep fueling your faith with knowledge of God’s promises and character.  

We need dependence on the Holy Spirit as oxygen. Fuel needs oxygen to ignite. In the same way, the Holy Spirit causes His Words of Scripture to ignite in our hearts. Just as a fire needs both fuel and oxygen, the words of Scripture and the work of the Spirit always go together. Fires burn hot when they get the wind they need. If your spiritual life is smoldering, pray for God’s Spirit to blow on your embers.

We need to keep the fire stirred by Christian work, ministry and service. Maybe your spiritual life is cold because the embers need to be stirred up. Maybe you are dormant because of a lack of activity. Get involved with something. Volunteer. Serve. Speak. Do something and see if it gets the flames going. 

And just as coals burn hotter when close together we need Christian fellowship to keep our fire hot. When coals are spread apart, they get cold. (Heb. 10:24-25)

Don’t douse your fire with buckets of sin. Wet wood doesn’t burn.

I don’t want to get allegorical, but these are some of the things that the Bible calls us to do regardless. The key point is that we need to attend to our spiritual lives constantly. When we don’t keep watch, or when we don’t put forth any effort, the fire will not blaze as it once did.

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