Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kindled by the Light of the Son

"fan the flame"
2 Timothy 1:6

I got off on a bit of a tangent the other day, while doing Bible study.  Does that ever happen to you?  You go to look something up, and you see something that makes you curious about something else, and then you look that up, and then the next thing.  I do it with the dictionary, too.  Sometimes I forget what word I was originally looking up, because I get so curious about nearby words. 

So I found myself looking up different uses of the word "fire" in Scripture.  It's a word that is used frequently in Scripture, but in a variety of ways.  We see in Leviticus, for example, it is the way by which an offering is made to God ~ "The sons of Aaron the priest shall put a fire on the altar, and lay the wood in order on the fire... and the priest shall burn on the altar a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the Lord.

In Exodus, an Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. (Exodus 3)

God tells us that He Himself is a "consuming fire" (Deuteronomy 4), and He led the Israelites in the desert as a pillar of fire. (Exodus 13)

Zechariah tells us that fire is how we are made perfect ~ "I will bring them through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested."

1 Corinthians says, "each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it... it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test each one's work."

And then, of course, there's the powerful reminder of John the Baptist's promise in Matthew 3:11, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."

And that promise was indeed fulfilled.  You know the dramatic story of Jesus' followers, in the Upper Room, waiting, as Jesus had instructed them.  "And there came a sound from heaven, a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the whole house.  And there appeared to them tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2)

Which leads to 2 Timothy.  Chapter 1.  Verse 6.  Good stuff.  "I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you... therefore I remind you to fan the flame of the gift of God which is in you... for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind."

This one that is so beautiful to remember when you're feeling weak.  When you feel like your embers are almost out, strength is not far away.

Fan the flame of your gift...  How do you do that?  First of all, you use your gift.  Any athlete will tell you that exercise makes a muscle stronger.  We grow stronger being where He wants us to be, doing what He has called us, and gifted us to do.

Secondly, you do that through fellowship.  God has created wonderful, amazing people around you, whether your family, your friends, your church... He provides support, wisdom and unconditional love, but sometimes we have to reach out for it.

And of course, prayer and reading the Bible.  There's strength in them thar pages.  Comfort.  Knowledge.  Reassurance.  The Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance everything He has said to us.  How's that for a promise?

~ "The city had no need of the sun 
or of the moon to shine in it,
for the glory of God illuminated it.
The Lamb is its light." ~
Revelation 21:23

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