Fanning The Flame
We want to look at Timothy. Timothy had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. In families today, so many children have parents of different backgrounds. The Apostle Paul loved Timothy whom he called his son. This is what discipleship is all about. So often today our children are not disciplined, there are, so many children who come from single parent homes, or broken homes. Paul took Timothy under his wing and taught him everything he needed to know. I’m sure that Timothy’s father taught him many things for life, but Timothy had a heart for God and he wanted to go into the mission field.
Let’s read from 2 Timothy 1: 3-4, “Every time I say your name in prayer—which is practically all the time—I thank God for you, the God I worship with my whole life in the tradition of my ancestors. I miss you a lot, especially when I remember that last tearful good-bye, and I look forward to a joy-packed reunion.”
Just think how Timothy must have felt when he read this, knowing that Paul was not only thinking of him, but praying for him and not once in a while but all the time? Here was Paul, whom Timothy looked up to, reading that Paul missed him and was thankful for him. Children and young adults need this today in their lives. There is so much out there to influence our children, and if we do not invest not only our time, but our heartfelt thanks and appreciation of our children, they will go and seek it out somewhere other than their families. With the internet and social media in particular they are constantly being bombarded with people influencing them from all directions. Even in our schools today they are being pulled in so many directions.
Paul continues to say this in verse 5, “That precious memory triggers another: your honest faith—and what a rich faith it is, handed down from your grandmother Lois to your mother Eunice, and now to you!”
Paul reminds Timothy that it was his mother and grandmother who taught him about faith, not by word, but by example. Yeshua did the same with His disciples as we read in Matthew 4:18-22,“ Now as Yeshua was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people.” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, in the boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets; and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.” He took these fishermen and by His example, taught them to go out into the world and catch souls for the kingdom. But Paul did not stop at reminding Timothy of his faith, no, he told him that he must pay close attention to his life.
2 Timothy 1:6-7 goes on to say, “And the special gift of ministry you received when I laid hands on you and prayed—keep that ablaze! For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
Paul tells Timothy to fan the flames that burn in his heart for God and His kingdom. We must always keep the fire going in our hearts for God, because if we don’t, we will become nothing but ashes, dead in the grave, cold in our hearts. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27, “Therefore I run in such a way as not to run aimlessly; I box in such a way, as to avoid hitting air; but I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
Paul goes on to say in 2 Timothy 2: 2-7 this, “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful people who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Messiah Yeshua. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him. And if someone likewise competes as an athlete, he is not crowned as victor unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.”
Discipline helps fan the flame. It keeps you going forward. It keeps you from falling back into old ways and habits. Paul tells Timothy this in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a worker who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the Word of truth.”
It takes work to be a disciple of Yeshua. We are to let our light shine before men continually. We must follow Yeshua’s example in all things and we too, must fan the flames to keep that light shining before men. We are God’s soldiers fighting the battle, no matter if we are pastors or teachers or lay people living out our lives for God. We all are in the mission field gathering in the harvest, no matter if it is at work, or at the marketplace, or in our families. Our faith must keep us in the faith and so we too, must fan the flames to keep before us the purpose to which we were called. Salvation is not exclusive, but inclusive. We are all to be fishers of those in the sea called this world. Let’s take Paul’s advice to Timothy.