Fan Intop Flame (Part 4: Tend the Fire)
Have you ever built a fire with a group? Last winter our Sr High Youth went on a retreat to Red Rock Bible Camp. One of the activities was an Amazing Race style game with teams doing different events all working towards the final activity which was to build a fire.
When the first team got to the fire building station they grabbed their materials, collected tender kindling and large pieces of wood, and were able to get the fire going. Interestingly, as the other groups came to the fire building area everyone wanted to build their team’s fire. They knew the competition part was over, but the prospect of building a fire with friends was very appealing. All through the wooded area where the fire building station was located, groups met and worked together to build their own group’s fire.
It was a beautiful picture of cooperation, friendship and fun.
Your family is like a group making and tending to a fire. The fire is our sincere, bold, active faith!
As Paul rights to his young friend Timothy about fanning to flame the gift of God within him, he is encouraging Timothy to be bold in his faith, to speak up for Jesus and to live for him. He warned Timothy that there will be suffering for him as he does this, but that he shouldn’t be ashamed of the Gospel. He reminds Timothy of the grace God is showing him and that he wants to extend every person. In the last couple verses that we will look at in the series, we will see that it is important for us to do practical things to guard our faith. In other words, tend the fire.
As families, I’m so glad that we can work on tending the fire of our faith together. This is something that every family can grow in.
Here’s what the text says:
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Timothy 1:13-14 NIV
Paul is not instructing Timothy that he must earn his salvation by trying harder and doing more activities to earn God’s favour. Rather, because we have received the free gift of salvation, we can grow in our part of working out our faith in practical ways. This is tending the fire! And we can do it together with our family members!
Some relationships that will help you, as parents as well as your kids:
Family: parents, grandparents, siblings. Friends: our friends determine the direction and quality of our lives. Seek out good friends for you and your kids. Mentors: who can help us fan in to flame our faith? Some people don’t have supportive family members of friends. This is where leaders through the local church can help us, and our kids, grow.
Some habits your family can grow in that help keep your spark, focus and boldness:
Bible: learn what the Bible is saying and put into practice what you learn. Keep working on various ways to get into the Bible yourself and with your kids. Prayer: it’s good to admit to God our dependence on Him. Ask Him for opportunities to share your faith and show others God’s love, and pray for boldness. Community: getting together with other followers of Jesus can help a lot. Like coals in a BBQ pit, the ones that stay close to each other stay white hot, while the ones who go it alone can cool off.
When Paul instructs Timothy to “fan into flame” the words he uses mean continuous and ongoing. I’m so glad that as we work on tending the flame, God remains committed to our growth as individuals and as a family:
being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:6 NIV
Who can help me or my family members grow in their faith journey?
What “fire tending” habit can I try something different in this week?