Today’s Passage: 2 Tim. 1:6-7
My husband is a self-described “intermediate grillmaster.” And for the past three months since we moved, he’s been a man without a grill (our old one was beyond retirement age).
That’s a big deal.
We have missed a big part of our peak grilling season, so it was with great joy that we welcomed home a little smoker this past week. Watching my husband tend his first fire in months made me feel even more settled here. Immediately, though, we found ourselves in familiar unwanted territory. The smoker was going–long smoke of a pork butt was on the agenda–and we went out to a high school football game [I know, I know]. When we returned, the temperature was too low. I watched as he worked carefully to get the temperature up where he wanted it for the night.
Perhaps that is why I felt compelled to look up the Greek word Paul uses in 2 Tim. 1:6 when I got to today’s scripture writing. Paul reminds Timothy to “fan into flame the gift of God” (ESV). In other translations it reads “stir up” or “kindle afresh”—what great images. The Greek here is anazōpyreō, meaning, “that by which the fire is kindled anew or lighted up…to kindle anew, rekindle, resuscitate” (emphasis mine, Blue Letter Bible).
Paul is describing the same sincere faith Timothy inherited from his mother and grandmother as a glowing ember that needs to get fired up once again.
Have you ever felt like your faith needed a warm up?
I sat with this verse pretty much all day today and I gotta say, hearing Paul, great man of faith, encourage Timothy to kindle his faith anew was a bit reassuring. Paul seems to communicate here that faith can indeed come in degrees of intensity. And that that is normal. However, I am not saying I think Paul expects our faith to grow weak and that we stand idly by and let it. Faith comes to us as a gift from God which makes it all the more precious. Therefore it is our responsibility to take care of it and nurture it, just as you would take care of a fire. He calls Timothy to that responsibility (with a “reminder”–can’t you just imagine what his reminder face looked like??), and he calls us to that responsibility as well.
So I thought about my husband and his smoker. The good news is that a well-built smoker can hold heat for a long time, but the fire has needs that have to be met to be at the right temperature. Faith, like fire, requires our attention [I know, I know]. We need regular opportunities to check our faith temperature, and church is a great place to do that. I won’t preach but sometimes our faith runs cool because we have made a lot of excuses for not going to church–not being a part of His designed community. And quiet as it is kept, you will learn a lot about your faith in a good church as well as in a not so good church! Faith, like fire, also needs fuel. There are all kinds of fancy fuel for smoker fires these days, but my husband is old school—he loves straight up charcoal and wood. Our faith needs old school fuel as well—the Bible and prayer. No need to fancy it up. If the faith light is dimming, pile on the Scripture, watch, and pray! Lastly, faith, like fire, needs air to be resuscitated. And there is no air for faith like that of the Holy Spirit. Staying in dialogue with Him and following His leading is a great way to push to a higher intensity in our faith.
What do you do to endure when your faith fire is running low in a season? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
My prayer is that we won’t waddle in disappointment when our faith is not running as hot as we’d like. That we won’t waste energy on moping or wishing for better equipment or better circumstances. I pray that we will fight the urge to give up and instead we will jump into action, rekindling our fire afresh with copious amounts of attention, community, Scripture, and prayer under the leading of the Holy Spirit.