Word on Fire

Paul writes to Timothy

'I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you'
(2Tim 1:6)

so, to help the church with this, we offer this brief word, because

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord'
(Jeremiah 23:29)

Finding and Fanning

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near (Isaiah 55:6).

So many of us put up with ‘second best’ blessings, a diluted discipleship, or a watered-down walk with God! We live out a compromised Christianity, because we fail to search for his presence and his purpose with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength (Mark 12:30). Don’t think for one moment that I myself have found perfection in this! No, not by a very long way, but like the apostle Paul I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Php 3:12). Our struggle exists, in part, because we are a ‘work in progress’, a new process of recreation (2Cor 5:17, using the true meaning of the Greek), and because “our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29 and Deuteronomy 4:24). He consumes us! He consumes our attention, our focus, but he also consumes our energy! When the meeting is over or the event ended, we find ourselves drained, exhausted, consumed. Not until we allow ourselves to be fully consumed by him, and our weakness is fully allowed to become his strength (2Cor 12:10), will we find ourselves living, and ministering, in the consummate capacity of the power that he gives to us. Put another way, because of our flesh we get tired, we lose sight of our heavenly (and earthly) goal, and we compromise with our time and our efforts.

The answer is to seek the Lord while he may be found, and while he is near! In truth, he is always near and can always be found by those who seek him. The scripture tells us:

“if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29) and “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:9)

Oftentimes I hear Christians say ‘I don’t feel that God is near to me’. This is a deception of the Devil or a consequence of our sin. If we have repented and sought to come to close to God, then he is near to us. It’s not a matter of what we feel, it’s a matter of the truth of the promise and the grace of God. The bible says:

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18) and “The Lord is near” (Php 4:5)

But there is a day and a time when the Lord comes especially close to his people, a time of visitation, when – though he sees and knows all - he comes especially close to oversee our work and our life to inspect the fruit, and to see if we recognise his closeness. At that time we must be alert, or we may miss the very best rewards, the best ministry opportunities, the best blessings of his presence, purpose, and power, that he has come to lead us into. Luke writes:

“They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognise the time of God’s coming to you.” (Luke 19:44)

But if we will raise ourselves out of our apathy and complacency to seek him, then he will be found, along with all his best for us. Isaiah calls this ‘shaking off the dust’ (Isaiah 52:2). Paul calls it ‘fanning into flame’ our gift (2 Timothy 1:6).

“Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion.” “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. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”

For some of us it may be such a time, right now! A time to fan into flame and to shake off dust; a time to not let hours – and the blessings that are ours – pass by, but to take hold, to rise up, and burn brightly in the Lord’s service! Living the life and the ministry which we have and to which we’re called, in whole and not in part.