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 gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:6-7
Last week I suggested that God’s design is that we be a people filled with passion that drives us to make an impact on our world for God. I believe that God begins that process with a catalyst, a spark that lights us on fire, stirs us up, and reveals something that drives us to move, to change, and to become more fully the person we have been created to be. Once God has created friction, and sparked the fire in your heart and life, what happens? In scripture we hear clear instructions to a young church leader named Timothy, who is told to fan into flame the gift of God in his life.
The word used in Greek to mean “fan the flame” can also be translated “to rekindle, to reactivate, to make alive again.” For you, the flame lit inside of you may have long ago been squelched, extinguished and otherwise discouraged. You were told to quiet down, someone questioned the legitimacy of your passion, or even suggested that no amount of effort can truly change the problem or issue you have a heart for. You also may be reading this wondering, do I even have a spark inside of me (we will cover this in a two weeks).
I am here to tell you that God placed a fire inside of you, he sparked a flame for a purpose, and our job is to fan the flame, and seek God’s leading for the passion and dreams he has placed inside of you. Fanning the flame might mean exposing yourself to the area of passion more. If you are bothered by bullying, volunteer at recess of lunch duty at a local school. If poverty is what lights you on fire, connect with a food pantry, a shelter, or a local crisis resource, and work hands on with those stuck in a cycle of poverty.
The greatest threat to the flame God sparks inside each of us is to temptation to settle and minimize it. To exchange God’s promise that “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father,” (John 14:12 ESV) for something that is comfortable, easy, the path of least resistance, and not life-giving. God has made it clear in scripture that He has created you for a great purpose, to be a person of passion, driven and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Once God ignites that flame, we have a responsibility to fan it, and to be aware of how God may be leading us in that process. Let me be clear this is not necessarily a call to leave your job, sell your house, and live in a different neighborhood as you work for a non-profit. This is instead a reminder that God does and will continue to be a catalyst that lights a flame inside of you, igniting your passion to lead you to make an impact for God in this world. How will you fan the flame God has sparked inside of you?