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Monday, 03 November 2014 17:42

Who’s Flame Are You Fanning?

Written by  Mike and Lisa Conn
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“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.” 

2 Timothy 1:6, 7

 

This article is about encouragement and perseverance.

In the above scripture, Paul, Timothy’s mentor and friend, encouraged young Timothy to “fan into flame” his spiritual gift(s); to be bold and not timid and to persevere while experiencing immense opposition in the church in Ephesus.  What are spiritual gifts and what are we to do with them?  The Life Application Bible says, “God gives all Christians gifts to use to build up the body of Christ.”  The NIV Study Bible references this passage saying, “Gifts are not given in full bloom; they need to be developed through use.”  Serving Christ in the realm of our lives can be intimidating at first, but becomes easier as we develop our gifts and practice using them to serve and encourage others.

 

Who’s Fanning Your Flame?  For almost 10 years, I (Mike) have been blessed to participate in a weekly early-morning (6 am) Bible study filled with men--mentors and friends--who love the Lord and each other.  A day or two before each study, one of the men sends an email reminder encouraging others to attend and reminding them what scripture we will be studying.  By doing this, he is both encouraging participation while also encouraging us to persevere so when the alarm clock goes off at 5 am, we are less likely to turn over and go back to sleep!

 

If we don’t fan into flame our gifts and the gifts of others, we risk missing many opportunities to show the love of Christ and to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Who’s fanning your flame?

 

Who’s Flame Are You Fanning?  Recently, I took my 84 year old mother to Kentucky to visit old friends she had not seen in 22 years. While eating breakfast in the motel dining room, I noticed the employee who kept the room clean and food supplies stocked.  She greeted everyone with a big smile and a cheerful good morning while keeping the dining room spotless, despite a steady stream of hungry visitors.  I was so impressed with her positive spirit, it didn’t take long to realize this would be a great opportunity to put into practice the instructions Paul gave to young Timothy.  First, I said a little prayer asking God to show me how to affirm this lady in a positive and uplifting way.  Then, thinking back to the many “Improving Communication” classes Lisa and I have taught, I remembered that the most effective verbal affirmation is spoken so that others will hear it.  Finally, while she was wiping off a table next to a full table, I asked her what her name was.  While still leaning over the table, she answered me with a look of concern, maybe thinking she had done something wrong or that I was not happy with the food.  Then, with the biggest smile I could give, I proceeded to compliment her (in front of others) on her wonderful attitude and great smile.  She, of course, beamed from the compliment and became even more joyful, if that were possible!  In addition, I noticed that everyone at the table next to her was smiling also.  I wish I could tell you that I have done this many times, but I haven’t.  However, after seeing the results of this episode, I have promised the Lord that I will do a better job in the future of putting into practice His instructions about encouraging others and persevering as I fan into flame my gifts and the gifts of others.

 

Putting Into Practice God’s Word.  Each of us has probably experienced reluctance to minister grace to another when given the opportunity.  Perhaps we feel discouraged or fearful, however, we must remember that the power of the Holy Spirit will help us overcome our fears so that God’s work can be done through us.  “When we allow people to intimidate us we neutralize our effectiveness for God”  (Life Application Bible). 

 

My Challenge to You:  During the next three weeks, find something positive about three different people, pray about each, and then affirm them about some positive behavior or action they have taken.

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 17:44
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