Thursday, March 04, 2010

lenten 40: day 14 - fan into flame

image 14.

5I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
~2 Timothy 1:5-6

i love the tv show Survivor. in the wild, fire is life. clean water and food requires fire. on the show, generally, the tribe with fire is the tribe that flourishes. when or if the fire goes out - the game changes. fire becomes a necessity. your nourishment and warmth are dependent on it.

i remember my father telling the story of serving in a small country church in rural Casey County, Kentucky when he first entered the ministry. during the winter months, the first thing he would do on Sunday morning upon arrival would be to build the fire in the coal burning stove so that the church could be heated.
"we'd have to reach into an old paint bucket filled with kerosene soaked corn cobs and throw it into the bottom of the stove... throw some kindling on top and get the fire going... then throw some coal on top. it'd get so hot, the stove would get red and glow. But i always knew that by Sunday afternoon, we'd have to come back and stoke that fire again, and then again on Sunday evening before service, we had to (stoke) the fire again because otherwise it would die out."*
common sense tells us that if you don't tend to a fire, it will eventually go out.

why is it then that we so often neglect to keep the fire of our faith glowing within us?

in 2 Timothy 1:5-6, Paul urges Timothy to stir up the heavenly flame within us. that message applies to us, today, also. don't neglect the gifts God has given us and called us to exemplify. when the fire goes out - a lukewarm spirit sets in. the Lord didn't say "i'll spit you our of my mouth because your too hot, he said, i'll spit you our of my mouth because you're lukewarm." (Revelation 3:16)

every Christian has an ember deep inside them. if the fire is fading, fan it into flame. build the fire up. keep the fire burning. stay close to the fire of God. we've got to keep it burning and take advantage of all of the things that will enable our hearts to grow and glow. fire is life. we need the fire of the Spirit of God inside of us.

what puts the fire out?
neglect. wet blankets of sin. complacency. other people (if you let them). settling for being an 'average' Christian. fear.

we are adopted sons and daughters of God. of the King! do we claim that? we are overcomers!

stir up love. discipline. this is our business. God started the fire within us... it's up to us to keep it going. maintain the spiritual glow.

Remain in the light of the fire of Christ. (Ephesians 5:8-20)
Don't hide your fire. (Matthew 5:14-15)

Will you teach us how to love?
To see the things you see
Walk the road you walked
Feel the pain that you feel
At your feet I kneel,
I want to see you shine
See your light not mine
'Cause light gives heat
Your light gives heat

~Jars of Clay - Light Gives Heat

*from message by Dr. Edward C. Beck "Stir Up the Gift of God" June 9, 2002

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