Fan into Flame
January 12, 2009 • By Ed Wrather
I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up (fan into flame - NIV) the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. - 1 Timothy 1:3-7.
Veterans in Bullhead City, Arizona were able to raise the money and finally have built an “eternal” flame in the Arizona Veterans Memorial Park. However, according to the Mohave Daily News the flame was not so “eternal” as it was extinguished after the city received a gas bill for $961. The city manager, Tim Ernster, stated that, “It caught us by surprise. What we decided to do for the time being is to turn the flame on…for special events, for Veterans Day, Fourth of July, Memorial Day - those types of activities.” However, after complaints by veterans groups the flame is burning again. The city is looking into the possibility of installing a smaller burner to replace the one that is using so much gas.
The apostle Paul tells Timothy to “stir up the gift of God” or as the NIV puts it to “fan into flame the gift of God that is in you….” Timothy has a gift from God to minister; however, every child of God has a gift from God. Your gift may not be the same as Timothy’s gift but God has gifted you according to 1 Corinthians 7:7 which says, “…each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that.”
One thing that we can see from the language of stirring up or fanning into flame is that the gift can grow cold. Without use, without development, your gift can be virtually inoperable or unusable. The flame requires attention so that it will not go out. Sadly, many Christians do what the city council of Bullhead City wanted to do after they received the huge gas bill. Many Christians when they are confronted by challenges or difficulties in this life simply turn off the flame. Or, they just try to turn the flame on for special occasions when they think that it is expected.
For the flame to be burning brightly in our lives we must fan the flame. We fan the flame; stir it up by using the gift and by staying close to the source of the fire. If the fire has gone out it is more difficult to start than if it still has a flame even if it is very small. A fire needs oxygen and if you fan the flame you give it more oxygen which results in a bigger flame. For our own flame to burn brighter it needs more of Jesus. Your flame needs more of the Word of God, more of praying, more of church, more of preaching, more of worship, and more of singing His praises. So fan into flame that gift that God has given to you and never ever let it go out.