Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fan the Flames

“Therefore, I remind you to keep ablaze the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7 CSB)

Why is it that believers sometimes get discouraged in trying to carry out the ministry God has given them?

Frustration is probably the biggest culprit in this process, and it is a process. When someone begins a ministry there is typically a lot of enthusiasm. What we soon discover, however, is that it isn’t as easy or simple as it may have first appeared, and along the way there may be someone who doesn’t particularly like what we are trying to accomplish, for one reason or another. Repeated attempts met with sporadic success and frequent failure produces frustration, and frustration often leads to the dissipation of enthusiasm, with the result that additional ministry attempts lessen or altogether cease. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Paul advised Timothy to “keep ablaze” the spiritual gift that was in him. What we want to know, though, is: How exactly do you do that?

The first action you have to take is to remind yourself of your faith. That’s what Paul did for Timothy actually. He said very clearly to Timothy that he clearly recalled Timothy’s sincere faith, that first lived in his grandmother Lois and then in his mother Eunice. Timothy needed to return to his roots in terms of being reminded of Whose he is, and that success was more dependent on the Lord than on him. And the reminder of faith is also a reminder of the call to faithfulness. God doesn’t call us to success but to faithfulness.

The second action needed is a fresh recognition of the Author of the spiritual gift or gifts that are in us. God is Himself NOT a Spirit of fearfulness, but a Spirit of power, love, and sound judgment, and He imparts His Spirit to us, leading us to overcome any timidity or fearfulness and to operate on the basis of His power, love, and sound judgment.

Faith and faithfulness, along with a fresh recognition of the powerful and loving God we serve, can serve to keep the spiritual fires ablaze in us, so that we can move on in faithful stewardship of who we are in Christ.

Lord, This day before us is filled with opportunity. May those spiritual fires in us burn hot and blaze upward in praise of You as we walk through the day. Amen.

No comments: