Here’s a truth you should know about yourself: the gift(s) of God on your inside will need your effort. At the discovery stage, the gift might look “ordinary.” It might look irrelevant and you might see it as nothing, because it’s not developed. The gift will need you to allow the Holy Spirit help you work and keep working on it for it to really look like what was given to you by God.
I know how to make fire in a hearth. I learnt how to do that as a child as I watched adults around me do it. There’s a way to arrange your firewood if you want the fire to start properly and maintain its flames, until you’re set to put out the fire. There’s also a way to rekindle a fire you’ve put out. You’ll have to remove the ashes from the hot coals and woods, rearrange the woods and coals and then then do something very significant…fan the hot coals and woods.
A hearth can have woods and coals without flames. The woods and coals might even be hot, very hot, yet without flames. It takes effort, deliberate effort, to arrange the coals and woods in other to ignite flames. Paul in his second letter to Timothy used the imagery of fire to show Timothy what needs to be done to the gift(s) God put on our inside.
Paul writes, “…rekindle the embers, fan the flame and keep burning—the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you…” 2 Timothy 2:6
Timothy was already in ministry, when Paul wrote to him. He already knew what the gift(s) of God in him was about, but he wasn’t using the gift(s) to the full. Paul being his mentor had to call him to order. Paul had to tell him not to allow what God has put on his inside be dormant. Paul had to tell him that “hot” wasn’t enough. “Hot and burning with flames” should be the goal, and the effort he needs to achieve that goal will have to come from him.
If you follow the “ordinary” way your God given gift(s) look(s) and feel(s) when not developed you’ll never believe God gave it to you. But you should know…your gift(s) need(s) your attention. You have to make it happen. As irrelevant as it might look now, it’s very hot and carries God’s fire, but if you don’t allow the Holy Spirit help you give it time and effort it won’t burn in flames.
Let’s ask some questions
What do you enjoy doing? What and what are you always attracted to? What can you do for free because you feel full and happy when you’re doing it? What is that thing you have a secret crush for? What is that thing you see others doing and wish you can do or at else get involved in? What are those things you’re always told you’re good at? If you were to have positive superpowers, what would you love your powers to be? What are the things the Holy Spirit places in your mind when you spend time with Him? When you imagine a perfect world, what role do you see yourself playing in that perfect world? What are those things people always ask you to help out with?
Honest answers to the above questions might point you to your gift(s)…and by extension…your calling in life. I dare to add…if you’re delighting yourself in the Lord, do not take the answers you’ll get from those questions for granted.
The problem is not getting answers…the problem is what the answers might feel and look like
The answers you’ll get from those questions might not look like “it” because you might be convinced those things aren’t your gift(s). Especially when you compare how not-so-well you can do those things with how excellently-well others are doing them. So the question to ask is: why can we believe our answers aren’t pointers to our gift(s)? Let’s try some possible answers:
“It doesn’t fit my personality”
(Well, who defined you to you…you, your environment or God?)
“I’m not good at it”
(Have you tried working on it while gifting yourself patience, or you’re allowing the fast pace of this world intimidate you?)
“I’ve tried it, it didn’t work”
(Again, how long did you try and did you involve God? Did you ask God to show you “the how” and “the where” and maybe, “the who” you need to help you figure it out?)
“I don’t have the right platforms, resources and connections”
(This was my major excuse, until I realized that I have God and He’s more than enough platforms, resources and connections. My problem was I didn’t trust God and His timing, and I was being double minded. Are you like the old me?)
“People don’t pay attention when I do it. The gift of a man is supposed to make way for him, right?”
(First, the gift of God in you is for His glory…not yours. So, your focus should be on how to glorify God with your gift and not who is paying or not paying attention to you. Yes, not everyone is using their gift to glorify God, but those persons shouldn’t be your references. Then, are you diligent? Have you really developed your gift(s) or you don’t mind settling into mediocrity? Finally, if you’ve done all that needs to be done, then you just have to focus on Jesus and trust the leading and timing of God for your life?)
The devil won’t let you
In 2 Corinthians 4: 4 the devil is called the prince of this world. Some translations say he’s the god of this world. Guess what? We’re in this world with this devil. You know what that means? It means the devil is never going to make it easy for us. The devil is always going to try to intimidate and bully us into a corner where we think and believe we’re not good and worthy enough. When God brings opportunities that will help us develop and grow, the devil is going to try and scare us out of them. The devil will try to make us concentrate on the disapprovals, the mistakes, the denials, the bashing the mockeries…and he’ll try to blind us from the lessons we’re learning. The devil won’t let us see how the disapprovals, mistakes, denials, bashing, and mockeries make us better.
So refuse to let the devil
You shouldn’t let the devil bully and intimidate you. Philippians 4:13 says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Ephesians 2:5-6 says you have the very life of God. 1 John 4:4 says greater is He that is in you than he that’s in the world. Romans 8:37 says you’re more than a conqueror.
Paul didn’t just tell Timothy to fan the gift of God in him into flame. Paul knew, like us, Timothy was shrinking his gift(s) because of fear and intimidation from the devil through his environment. Paul has experienced fear, intimidation and discouragement too. Paul knew what the feeling was like, so he addressed it. See what Paul says in the very next verse,
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity— of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear— but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” 2 Timothy 2:7 (AMPC)
We’ve got all we need to fan the gift(s) into flame:
We’ve got the power, so we have what it takes to stand against fear, discouragement and any other thing the devil will throw our way.
We’ve got the force of love…God’s love. We have what it takes to love ourselves, no matter what others think, say or do because God loves us. We also have the privilege of extending this love to others.
There’s the promise of calmness for our spirit, even when the world tries to make us scared or bring uproar our way.
Our mind is well-balanced, because we have God’s wisdom. We can think and act like Christ because all that Christ is we are too.
We have the ability to stay disciplined even with the many distractions surrounding us daily.
And then there’s the strength to exercise self-control…to control our thoughts, words and actions. We understand our thoughts are powerful because they influence our words and actions, so we intentionally bring our thoughts under the authority of God’s Word.
So what is your mind trying to tell you again? Whose voice will you believe? The voice of a loser called “devil’ or the voice of a God who loves you unconditionally?
My prayer for you and me:
May we get excited about the gifts of God in us, no matter how undeveloped they are. May our excitement make us get up and start fanning.
We’ll see those gifts burn in flames and we’ll watch them stay aflame for and to the glory of God. In Jesus’ name…Amen.
Get in the gym, and do
Stay Spiritually Fit.