Fanning the Flame

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 Timothy 1:6 (NIV)

Imagine for a moment that you’ve been given a small ember. It’s glowing and full of potential but needs your attention and care to become a roaring fire. This ember represents the spiritual gift God has placed within you. Just as a fire needs tending, your gift must be “fanned into flame.”

The Apostle Paul, writing to his protégé Timothy, uses this powerful metaphor to describe how we should nurture our spiritual gifts. But what does it mean to “fan into flame” these divine endowments?

First, let’s consider what happens when we neglect a fire. It smolders, loses heat, and eventually goes out. The same can happen with our spiritual gifts if we don’t actively use and develop them. Maybe you’ve experienced this – a passion for teaching, serving, or encouraging others that once burned brightly but has now dimmed to a faint glow.

Paul’s words remind us that maintaining the vitality of our gifts is an active process. It requires intentionality and effort on our part. But how do we do this?

  1. Fuel the Fire: Just as a fire needs wood to burn, our spiritual gifts need the fuel of God’s Word. Regular Bible study and meditation provide the substance that feeds our gifts. As we immerse ourselves in Scripture, we gain wisdom, insight, and direction for using our gifts effectively.
  2. Allow Oxygen: Fire needs oxygen to burn. In the same way, our gifts need space to breathe and grow. This might mean creating a margin in our busy lives to practice and develop our gifts. It could involve seeking out opportunities to serve or stepping out of our comfort zones to try new ways of using our gifts.
  3. Remove the Ashes: Over time, ashes can smother a fire. In our spiritual lives, discouragement, past failures, or criticism can act like ashes, smothering our gifts. We must regularly clear these away through prayer, forgiveness (of ourselves and others), and renewing our minds with God’s truth.
  4. Stoke the Flames: Sometimes, a fire must be stirred up to burn more brightly. We can stoke the flames of our gifts by challenging ourselves to grow, seeking feedback from others, and continuously learning and improving in our areas of giftedness.

But fanning the flame isn’t always easy. It requires perseverance, especially when we don’t see immediate results. There may be times when you feel like your efforts aren’t making a difference. In those moments, remember that God is faithful. He has entrusted you with this gift, and He will provide the grace needed to develop and use it effectively.

The renowned 19th-century preacher Charles Spurgeon reminds us, “God has given us the spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. Stir up the gift of God that is in you.” This echoes Paul’s exhortation to Timothy and serves as a powerful reminder that we have been equipped by God. Our role is to actively stir up these gifts, fanning them into flame for His glory and the benefit of others.

Godseekers, today is a new opportunity to fan into flame the gift God has given you. Whether your gift feels like a roaring bonfire or a flickering candle, take steps today to tend to it. Your faithfulness in this honors God and prepares you for greater service in His kingdom.

Let’s commit to being active stewards of our spiritual gifts, continually fanning them into flame for God’s glory and the benefit of others. As we do, we’ll find that the fire of our gifts burns more brightly and spreads, igniting passion and purpose in those around us.


Heavenly Father, thank You for the spiritual gifts You’ve so graciously given us. We acknowledge that these gifts come from You and are meant to be used for Your glory and the good of others. Help us, Lord, to be faithful stewards of these gifts. Give us the wisdom and diligence to fan them into flame. Show us opportunities to use and develop our gifts, and grant us the courage to step out in faith when You call us. May the fire of Your Spirit burn brightly in us, igniting passion in our hearts and lighting the way for others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Personal Reflection

  1. What specific actions can you take this week to “fan into flame” the spiritual gift(s) God has given you?
  2. Are there any “ashes” (such as discouragement, fear, or past failures) that might smother your gift? How can you address these?

Step of Faith

This week, choose one way to develop or use your spiritual gift actively. This could be volunteering in a ministry that aligns with your gift, seeking out a mentor in your area of giftedness, or studying a book or resource to grow your understanding of your gift. Take this step, even if it feels small, as an act of faithfulness in stewarding what God has given you.

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