Fanning the Flames

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I’m not much of a camper. As a matter of fact, my idea of roughing it is staying at a hotel where they don’t put a mint on your pillow each night. But when my children were young, I sacrificed my comfort twice a year to attend our church’s annual Father-Son and Father-Daughter camping trips. Often these weekend camp-outs were held in March and proved to be quite chilly affairs.

As a result, I became quite good at building fires.

Because I found it difficult to sleep with rocks digging into my back, I was usually the first one up every morning. When I would step out of our tent into the frigid morning air, my first thought was to get the fire going as quickly as possible. By now the wood had burned down to tiny coals and only a thin wisp of smoke trailed up from the fire pit.

I’d get some fresh twigs and leaves and put them on top of the coals, blow on them, and in a few seconds flames would break out. Then I’d put on more wood and it wouldn’t be long before I had a good strong fire burning again.

In recent years, I’ve begun to look at my spiritual life–and particularly my daily devotions–that way.

When I wake up in the morning, my spiritual condition is often like burned-down coals in a fire pit. There’s some smoke, but not much flame or heat. My task every morning is to fan into flame my joy, zeal, and love for the Lord. I have a routine that includes reading five psalms, a chapter of proverbs, several chapters from other portions of scripture, six or seven prayers from a prayer book titled “The Valley of Vision”, and reading some devotions by Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon. The routine takes almost an hour, but by the end of it, I’m ready to go out and face whatever challenges God may send my way.

Is your daily time with the Lord focused toward a goal? Or are you just going through the motions of reading from the Bible and praying because that’s what Christians are supposed to do?

Consider looking at your time with God as an opportunity to fan into flame your love for Him every day. It will change your outlook on the entire day.

“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).

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