In what is possibly Paul’s last recorded letter before his death, Paul tells Timothy to “Fan into flame the gift of God” (2 Tim 1:6). What a great verse! We have all had times where it felt like the flame was dying. Discouragement set in. Maybe, like Timothy, you had a problem with being too timid or were tempted to be ashamed of the gospel (1:7-8). Paul says God’s gift is still in there, it just needs to be fanned. It just needs some encouragement, some rejuvenation. So get to it Timothy and fan into flame that which God has already equipped you with! You don’t have to ask for anything new. You don’t have to ask God to re-gift your gifts. You just have to give it some attention and let that tiny little ember grow into all consuming fire for the Lord.
Those verses remind me of Isaiah 42:3 where Isaiah writes a predictive prophesy about the ministry of Christ. He writes,
“A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”
Bruised reeds and smoldering wicks…two things that are just about to fall to pieces. God is not the business of snapping and snuffing. God doesn’t walk by and “finish them off.” Instead he,
“gives breath to its people,
and life to those who walk on it”
– Isa 42:5
If you are discouraged remember that God can and will still work in you and through you. Don’t give up. Keep on fighting. Keep on walking. Keep on talking. Keep on living. Fan into flame whatever God has placed in your life so that God may be glorified in you and through you. If there is even just an ember remaining there is hope. God won’t snuff it out. God won’t finish you off. God won’t shoot you while you are down.
Instead God is the one, “who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” (2 Tim 1:9-12).
So don’t be discouraged and keep on fanning!