I remember the day I met with my beautiful publishing friend. She asked me what I had been writing and I told her all of the excuses I had for why I wasn’t. She sat there nicely and listened. The final excuse I gave was that I didn’t have a laptop or computer anymore. She promptly got up, walked into a closet and came out with a pen and some yellow legal pads. She plopped them in my lap and said “You cannot bring God glory if you do not use your gift.” She said it because she loves and cares about me but boy did it sting. That moment has haunted me for the last few years.
I would like to say I left her office with a new resolve and desire to write, but I didn’t. I left her office feeling like my writing ship had sailed and no one seemed to understand that. I had stepped out in faith only to hit what I believed to be a dead end one too many times and I didn’t have the faith or the heart to try again.
It says in 2 Timothy 1:6-7 This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you. For God has not given us a Spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self discipline.
Though I have read these two scriptures many times over the years, it wasn’t until this weekend that I put them together. I think many of us fail to use our gifts in the way God intended because we are filled with fear, doubt, and insecurity. We lack the discipline go the distance and fight against the obstacles that will inevitably arise whenever we attempt to live the life God called us to.
That is why Paul reminds Timothy that all of the things he may be feeling are not valid excuses for not using his gifts. His feelings are valid, but the Spirit of God living and dwelling inside of Timothy gives him everything he needs to overcome what he may be feeling. The same is true for all of us.
Paul also encourages Timothy to fan into flames his gift. Though I had an idea of what that meant, I looked it up online to make sure and this is what I found: to intensify or stir up feelings, exacerbate and explosive situation.
It is often referenced in a way that makes a situation worse. However, when read in the context of Paul’s letter I see it as encouragement. I believe Paul is telling us that we need to keep using our gifts so when the time comes we are ready to ignite with full power the gifts we have been given.
You cannot run a marathon without training. You cannot even run a sprint without training (without hurting yourself anyway). That is why we need to fan the flames of our gift. We need to train and practice our gifts so when the time comes for us to operate in all of it’s power, we are ready to ignite. When we find ourselves in this place, fear and timidity do not stand a chance!
If your fiery gifts have been rained on, I encourage you to take a step of faith and start using them again. Stir up those dreams! Stir up the visions God gave you! Stir up the passionate desires you once had! Whatever let downs you may have had in the past no longer matter. Leave it in the past. All that matters now is what lies ahead. I don’t know what it is, but I do know that it’s good!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your fierce love of me! Thank you for the gifts and talents you have placed within me. Thank you for giving me the courage to fan the flames again. Give me a renewed sense of hope, purpose, and desire to use my gifts. Bring me opportunities to use my gifts. Ignite my gifts in an explosive way that changes the lives of those around me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Love, Grace, and Explosive Gifts,