#563 (23/3/22) FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD
This week, as we continue our 6-week study on the person of the Holy Spirit, we will be looking at the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Do you remember when you first started to learn to ride a bicycle (or another skill if you can’t ride a bike). When you start it seems that this is a skill made for beings of greater skill than you will ever attain! But, through perseverance, your first tentative escapades without stabilisers become like… like riding a bike!
We can only grow in anything by being prepared to try, take advice and persevere – you may have fallen flat on your face but no one wants to live there!
It is well known that a shark stays small if put in a small tank. Many of us fail to grow because we put ourselves in a small ‘tank’ of risk-averse safety. Using gifts is risky! You will make mistakes, be misunderstood, be corrected, suffer self-doubt… but you will grow, and others will grow ‘as each part does its work’ (Ephesians 4:16).
FAN YOUR GIFTS INTO FLAME
‘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 the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’ (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
Gifts are like a fire – they need to be tended. We tend the fire of our gifts by fuelling our souls through worship, study, through the ‘oxygen’ of being filled with the Spirit, through hearing the encouragement of the Spirit through scripture… Will you fan into flame your gifts? The lazy will not grow. He’s told us that the ‘Spirit does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.’ As someone said, God made us with two ends – a head and a bottom – growth is dependent upon which end we use most! If we won’t pray, learn and persevere we will stay right where we are.
This text does not tell us the specific gift that Paul is referring to; therefore, this can be applied by all of us to every gift. However, in 1 Timothy we read,
‘Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.’ (1 Timothy 4:13-15)
It seems that Timothy’s main gift (that he was to fan into flame) was preaching and teaching God’s word. He was not to neglect this, rather, he was to be diligent so that others would see his progress. This comes forcefully to each of us. Am I devoted to the gifts that I have been given, or have I neglected them? Am I being diligent and am I giving myself wholly to them? Do others see my progress in the use of my gifts?
Let’s, together, fan into flame our gifts. Let’s use them. Let’s blow off the dust and pick up the gifts that we may have neglected. How will you ‘fan into a flame the gift that is within you? How are you serving? I find the challenge of Francis Chan apt –
‘What would the world-wide church look like if everyone was as committed, serving and giving like you?’