Last week we were exalting in Jesus’s resurrection and the incredible resurrection power which now lives in each of us. Not only does He give us His power, but He also gifts us with His Spiritual presence within our souls. The flame is aglow, but it doesn’t end there. We have a responsibility to fan the flame of the Holy Spirit. What better time of the year to make sure our flame is blazing?
Fan the Flame Scripture
As Paul was facing imminent death, he penned one last letter to his beloved Timothy. They had been traveling companions and Paul was a wonderful mentor to Timothy, whom he considered a son. He gives him advice and encouragement for the tough days of persecution that loomed in Timothy’s future.
“I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 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.” 2 Timothy 1:5-6 NIV.
(God used the laying on of hands to communicate spiritual gifts. See also Acts 9:17-18.)
In both of his letters to Timothy, Paul encourages him many times to be bold, not shy away from confrontation and to stand up and be strong. Timothy may have been a bit timid, but he also faced great responsibilities in Ephesus. Whatever the reason, Timothy needed to be bold and Paul had the perfect answer.
He strongly encouraged him to fan the flame…
The Greek word Paul uses meant to rekindle, to “stir up” the flames. The goal was to keep his fire burning bright and strong; to persevere. Timothy hadn’t lost his fire, but Paul gives him encouragement to keep his fire burning bright.
Bible Verses about the Holy Spirit
The fire of the Holy Spirit is a gift, freely given and now present within us. It is God’s own Spirit, His promise kept. It is a Holy fire that sparks a spiritual passion to use our God-given gifts and talents.
Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to help you and be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 NIV.
The Spirit of God Lives in You
“You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” Romans 8:9 NIV.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.” Ephesians 1:13 NIV.
The Flame of the Holy Spirit
God gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, but He isn’t responsible for maintaining the flame. We are in a holy partnership with Him- submitting to His will and empowered by Him to do His work. That includes being attentive and diligent in fanning the flame.
Paul gives us a warning about our personal responsibility:
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11NIV.
That spiritual fervor translates as “boiling hot.” Have you ever made candy or jam? You need to bring it to a full rolling boil- it’s sputtering and popping out of the pan with intensity.
That’s the spiritual fervor Jesus is looking for. We are to keep our Holy Spirit fire boiling hot no matter what is going on around us. We can’t let our circumstances or other people dampen our fire.
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Igniting the Fire of the Holy Spirit
Is your fire new, a small steady flame? Or maybe you’ve let it burn down to coals. Just as with actual fire, our spiritual fire needs tending in able to burn bright.
1. Begin by adding some “tinder” to your flame or coals. It is the small dry stuff which catches fire quickly to help build up a larger fire.
You might just need a bit of curiosity as your “tinder.” Sit in Jesus’s presence for a while. Ask Him what His plans are for you and the best ways to fan your personal flame. Seek Him out and listen to His voice- He will reveal Himself to you.
2. Next you need “kindling”- the small pieces of wood that catch fire from the tinder.
Add the kindling of His Word, little by little, as a solid base for your fire. Add in simple acts of kindness and express gratitude for His blessings. They can ignite our joy and faith. Add in worship and praise to raise the heat.
3. Now you’re ready to add the larger logs onto your flame. Grow your fire by growing in your relationship with Him. A fire untended will die out. “Logs” of consistent Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and acts of service fan the flame of the Holy Spirit.
No two fires will ever be the same, and so it is with us. As we learn and grow throughout our lives, He reveals Himself to us by the flames of the Holy Spirit. He will guide you into His marvelous plans and show you what gifts He has given you for your season of life.
Resisting the Holy Spirit
“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19 NIV.
Have you ever tried to keep a fire going using wet wood? It produces a fire with less heat and more smoke. Not only is it less efficient, but it can also be a hazard to your health.
Paul warns us about putting out the fire of the Holy Spirit in the same way.
We put out the Spirit’s fire when we add the “wet wood” of indifference or busyness; prioritizing other aspects of our lives over our spiritual gifts. Our flame diminishes and choking smoke fills the surrounding air. That environment is not conducive to keeping our fire alive and burning bright.
Or maybe you’ve added printed paper to your fire. A toxic smell results from the inks, bleaches, and chemicals these papers contain.
Likewise, the sin in our life is toxic to our fire. We have to resist throwing anything into it that threatens to douse it. Unforgiveness, doubts, bitterness, fear, worry– whatever personal thought, word, or deed that goes against God- dampens our fire.
The Holy Spirit aims to purify our lives– a lifelong process of sanctification. Fan the flame with the right fuel!
Walk of Faith
Once you have a mature fire going, the flame burns hot and bright. You emit heat and light. Your base is full of glowing coals. Another way to tend this Holy Spirit fire is to light someone’s else’s log by adding it to yours.
God gave us all different Spiritual gifts, so fueling the fires of others will not look the same.
Nevertheless, we can all start with the great commandment to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Matthew 22:37-39 NIV.
Remember that boiling hot fervor Paul encouraged us to show? Imagine living out this verse in your world with the bright, passionate fire of the Holy Spirit to inspire and light the fires of others.
Stir Up the Gift
To rekindle, stir up, and fan the flame of the Holy Spirit takes intentional work. We can’t let “life” get in the way of seeking God and living for Him. Our enemy would love to quench our fire! Fanning the flame is not as demanding as it may seem.
On the contrary, once we commit to fueling our Holy Spirit fire, we love the warmth and light so much, we can’t help but to add to it.
Let’s be intentional in keeping our eyes on the things above. Let’s sit near the flame, soaking in His presence. With Jesus’s power and the Holy Spirit’s presence, we are refined and purified. We can be the bold gift for God’s kingdom that Paul saw in Timothy.
We are each given gifts that match our personalities and God’s plan. They are already within us, whether or not we are using them. Paul compares the body of Christ with the human body. Each part has a different purpose but must work together.
“But in fact, God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” 1 Corinthian 12:18 NIV.
You are here now, in this place and time that God lovingly planned; chosen with a purpose.
Fan your flame, keep it burning bright and strong, so that you would bring Him the glory, feel His joy in your life, and live through every trial and season in His purpose.
Related Post∼ Food for the Spirit
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