Through the Word in 2020 #100 – Aug. 20 / Fan Into Flame

In Job 9–13 , our suffering friend continues to wrestle with not understanding why he is suffering so, when wicked people seem to skate. Circumstances continue to challenge his outlook that serving God should buy you an easy time of it in life. In Luke 11:37–54
Jesus challenges religious hypocrites outright. Outward religion is no substitute for walking with God inwardly. In Psalm 119:41–48 David prays for help in facing the challenge of those who would pull him off course from following the Word faithfully. And in 2 Timothy 1:3–18, Paul challenges his protege to fan into flame, the gift of God within him. A challenge we all need, and we’ll talk a bit more about today on Through the Word in 2020.

“Fan into flame the gift of God , which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” That’s Paul’s 1st exhortation to Timothy in this exceedingly personal letter. No doubt, Paul has known seasons in his own life when passion for Christ has burned lower than is healthy. And I would imagine you might have experienced that too. I know I have.

Now many think the gift being referred to here is Timothy’s gift for ministry. That’s certainly possible. Others, think it is merely passion for Christ. But when I consider this passage in light of Luke 11:13 ESV / If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

And 1 Thessalonians 5:19 ESV Do not quench the Spirit.

I am more inclined to see this as a call to pay close attention to the inward influences of the Holy Spirit. To “fan the flame” of His inward warmth and light with the breath of prayer. And to keep from thinking or participating in things which dowse His influence in any way. One translation reads: “Don’t stifle the Spirit’s fire”, and another “Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” Poke at the embers. Feed it more. Blow on it. The word translated “fan into flame” means to stir up something that is dormant. Excite it. Tend to it to keep it blazing.

The reason behind that charge isn’t hard to see. Paul is going to go on to cite at least 3 main areas where this is important for Timothy, and for you and me in this very challenging time in which we live.

We are to pray regarding the Spirit’s influence in us so as to walk:

a. Courageously in the Gospel. Now courage is not brashness of personality which some mistakenly put in its place. It is not volume of voice or pugnaciousness. It is the simple, unrelenting commitment to preach and live the whole of Gospel truth without compromise irrespective of anything, any circumstance or any person who opposes that truth in its fulness.

And for that to be our lifestyle in the face of an increasingly secular and even anti-Christian society, takes nothing less than the supernatural work of the Spirit within.

b. To walk in love. Christ’s love. A supreme, all pervasive love of God Himself, overflowing to those made in His image. To love far beyond our natural and fallen capacity. For it is the Spirit alone who can give us the strength to comprehend the love of Christ needed to fill us with all the fullness of God.

I’ll leave it to you to read that in detail in Eph. 3:14-19.

c. To walk in self-control. We are helpless to stand against our own inward corruption apart from the Spirit working within to grant us victory over our fleshly desires.

To walk in genuine courage, love and self-control, requires our intentional tending to the fire of His Spirit within us. And the more we do, the more we enjoy His light, His power, and His warmth.

I’m Reid Ferguson. And God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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