Have you ever been discouraged about using your gift? Ever doubted if your creative efforts would make a difference? This is for you.
2 Timothy 1:6 says, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Notice the descriptive language, “fan into flame.” Our gift is pictured as a fire. Fire, like everything else in life, dies without attention and intervention. Fires run out of fuel. You have to feed the fire if you want it to blaze.
But here is the image of a dying fire. All that’s left are fading embers in the bottom of a pit. Paul exhortation is, “Don’t let it die. Fan it. If you will fan it, the fire will flame again. You’ll experience the joy of your gift glowing and warming your life and the lives of others.”
Why does the flame of our gift die? We get discouraged. We think people will not receive or welcome our gift. We’re afraid of failure. We tell ourselves our efforts will be a waste of time. So rather than be disappointed we never try. We neglect the gift of God.
Then there are the critics. They are the wet blankets that try to smother our gift before it shines too brightly. Here was Timothy, a young pastor, who had grown discouraged about the progress he was making. He was surrounded by wet blankets, naysayers, and doubters. Many said he was too young and didn’t have the charisma, the gift of gab and blab.
When I think of critics I think of the commentators for ice skating on TV. The skater does an amazing quadruple axle with a twist. But instead of cheering, Dick Button always finds something wrong – a double-toed landing, or a lean to the left or right, a shoelace not tight enough.
Tune out the critics and focus on the gift of God. We fan the fire again with energy, by practice, study, growing, using, and sharing God’s gift with others. Don’t let the fire die. Hey, your marriage, get a fan and fan that flame!
2 Timothy 1:7 continues, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”
When we gave our lives to Jesus by faith we received a new spirit. We have the Holy Spirit, the presence of God living in us – the same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead.
We are not to be timid. When we are timid we are reticent, reluctant, and worried about what others will think. Timidity is not humility. Humility produces strength because we trust in God alone in our weakness. But when we are timid we doubt ourselves and the God who has called us.
With his spirit living in you, you have everything you need. Not only power but love. The desire to use God’s gift to help others in humble service. And along with power and love, self-discipline to give yourself daily to the work God has called you to. So, let’s fan on!.