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. 2 Tim. 1:6
Filipinos are experts on this.
A lot of us used or uses firewood for cooking. Firewood coming from fallen branches and twigs from the backyard of your own or from the yard of your neighbors. Firewood coming from trees which were pruned or cut to expose the house from the street. So, we have a natural no-cost fuel for cooking, which is by the way can be harmful to the environment. But it takes effort to cook using firewood. You have to blow it. That’s the tube is for. However, this approach will give you a dizzy head. So, our friendly fan comes in. To make or to keep the flame burning, you have to fan it. You have to stroke your hand holding the fan up and down, left and right for the flame to cook your meal. There is a certain time the flame would die down and your hand automatically finds the fan. Once again, you fan the flame.
Does Paul has Filipino blood lines in his veins? He instructs Timothy to do this.
He instructs us to do this. He knows you need to fan the flame in you. The flame of God in you doesn’t die down by itself, but it is decreased by your human nature or wrong turn of events in your life. You get tired. You don’t have patience. You clamor into relationship problems. You get exit papers from the manager’s office. Or you come to the job daily of which you are not happy after all. Or you might be young and it seems the race is too long to run. Or you might be old and it seems you have wasted too much time ignoring the Lord. The fact that your career is not going upward but down can minimize the flame in you. These can make you dizzy and harm your personal and spiritual environment.
Three words of advice. Fan the flame.
- Pray daily. Spend a good amount of time with Jesus (15 minutes to start).
- Read God’s word daily. Reflect on the daily mass readings.
- Find support and give support. Be in touch with fellow followers.
- Participate in the life of the church. Your presence is appreciated in any church event.
- Tell someone about Jesus and his love by your words and actions. Love them like Jesus. Speak with them like Jesus.
Don’t be raw or medium cooked. Be fully alive through the fire of God’s Spirit. Fan the flame!
At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 2 Timothy 4:16-17
Defense. You need five players against five players in a basketball game. Stop any of the five from taking shots. Defend the perimeter and the bottom of the post. Block the jumpers and putting hands up on the slashers. Getting near the basket is a big No. Five players need to form a solid fence to prevent the opposing players to score. But defense does not stop there. After defending the keyhole, they need to grab the ball and turn the tide on the other team. If a team wants to win a game, as they say, defense is the best offense.
Paul did not have the luxury of a team during a defensive play. He was all alone defending the turf. His team deserted him. His team filed leave of absences during the game. No one showed up for him to guard the post. He was one man defensive team. Or so he thought. He got the Lord by his side. The Lord stood his ground and by Paul’s game. The Lord put up a solid defense with Paul.
More than the fence they built, the Lord gave Paul the strength he needed to withstand the attack of the offense. The strength to block the ball, it’s from the Lord. The strength to stop the streaking shooter, it’s from the Lord. The strength to defend the quick step player, it’s from the Lord. Paul just needed to be present at the defense, the Lord supplied the strength.
Further, the Lord’s intention is to turn this defensive mode into an instant offense. Paul mentioned – so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. The Lord will turn the tide. He has a game plan for Paul to advance the ball to the other court. The Lord will forward the mission into an offensive siege.
If today, you feel all alone in your defense, think again. If you see no one has shown concern at your defense, think again. The Lord stands by your side. The Lord gives you all the strength you need. He is busy sketching play to turn the tide for your benefit. The Lord will allow things to happen so you can forward his mission for you. Maybe for now the ball is not on your hands, but it will be. Be ready for your offensive game.
If your life is on the defensive mode, look upon the Lord, he alone is our defense.
But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it… 2 Timothy 3:14
They were ahead of me on the line. An Indian woman and her son stopped by the Subway sandwich store to get their lunch same as myself. When it was their turn, the mother requested the server to change his plastic hand gloves. She explained that those hand gloves might have residues of meat which the server has touched for the previous customers. It came to me, this is about their religion. It’s not about that they are living a healthy life, which even a small millimeter of meat is a No-no, but this is about remaining faithful to what they have learned and believed. This woman remained faithful even if she was not sure if the server understands to what she is standing up for. Though, there were many customers hearing their conversation, she did not allow herself to be dwarfed by the crowds and she remained faithful and boy, I looked at her like I was bending my neck upwards at Yao Ming. She stood tall, she remained faithful.
So should we.
….. when a friend drops a gossip in the midst of your conversation.
….. when your boss blurts a direction for you to falsify your report.
….. when your leader in the community takes the slide.
….. when peers ridicule you for what you believed in.
….. when others have falter being faithful.
….. even when faith seems to be less.
….. in small or big things.
….. when everybody is watching or nobody is looking.
Paul exhorted Timothy to remain faithful, and he is encouraging us to do the same. Remain faithful to what we have learned and believed. For us to stand up for Jesus even at some times we may be misunderstood. To remain steadfast in the midst of worldly pressures to keep our faith burning. Do not allow any residue not belonging from God to be planted in our hearts and lives. Never mind the crowd, focus on depending on Jesus for grace to make a decision for Him to stand tall and stand strong when situations challenges our devotion.
Do not be dwarfed, stand tall and remain faithful.