Recently, I spent some time thinking about Second Timothy 1:6, “For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you…” Which led to the question, “What in the world does that mean?” and, “How do I do that?”
Instantly my husband came to mind. No, I am not about to launch into a TMI description of our romantic life. My husband loves primitive camping. If you don’t exactly know what that means it means you camp with what you can carry on your back and that’s all. When he was in 3rd grade he asked his parents if he could take a trip into the woods alone with just his hatchet to see if he could make it. Their response was “We’ll think about it.” The trip never happened and I think his heart is still longing for that experience.
Anyway, my husband has educated me on starting a fire from scratch (so-to-speak). A fire from scratch begins with one thing: a spark. A minuscule, barely visible, glowing spec of energy. Blink, and you miss it. If you have a spark, you have a fighting chance at a roaring fire. Using a flint and steel, aim your sparks onto something that is incredibly delicate and dry. This is called tinder. Things like dried grass, thin bark, laundry lint, or cotton balls. The spark will burn into the tinder and will become an ember, a larger spec of energy. Flames will probably not be present. Hold the delicate collection of ember and tinder and then gently blow. If you blow too fiercely, the ember goes out, but by blowing slowly, gently, and patiently, your ember will burst into flame. Lay your flaming tinder ball down and add a few small, dry twigs called kindling and let them catch fire. Keep gently blowing. When your twigs are on fire add small branches or sticks, then add larger branches. And finally, when your fire is successfully burning up branches, add your logs.
Why do I share this detailed and tedious information? So you can start a fire from scratch and impress your friends? Absolutely, but something much more important; our relationship with God.
Sometimes, our desire for God, His Word and growing in Him is a spark, a minuscule, barely visible, glowing spec of energy. We expect that spiritually we should be a roaring bonfire already and our spark of energy is worthless. But focusing on a roaring bonfire is shortsighted. By only valuing the bonfire we ignore the small steps, patient working and waiting that had to happen before the bonfire. A bonfire is just a spark that was invested in and given time.
You may be despising your own spark right now. You may struggle with guilt that you are not a raging bonfire for Jesus. The thought of being at church during the week and studying the Bible feels tiring and overwhelming. You may hear a constant voice in your head saying, “You should be reading more, praying more, interacting with your kids or spouse more, volunteering more (more, more, more).” And at the end of the day your spark is diminished by the weight of all you feel you aren’t doing. So you leave it alone, embarrassed that you have just a spark; what use is a spark?
Your spark is bursting with unspeakable potential. But you must feed it. You must feed your spark, the fuel of God’s word and expose yourself to His presence. You must give yourself some patience and watch God grow your spark into an ember. Continue to nurse the ember in your heart, be patient and intentional and watch as love for God and His Word finally bursts into flame. When you are finally afire with a flicker of light, and others begin to notice, keep consuming His Word and His presence. Feed your fire. Kindle it afresh daily. Then all of a sudden, when you are years (yes, I just said years) down the road and you can’t imagine your life without the daily strengthening of His presence and Word, remember it started with a tiny, minuscule spark—blink and you’d miss it.
For now, don’t take on a log—find your tinder and cast your tiny spark at it. Ask yourself, “What is the next small step that I can take to feed the spark of God in me?” Be brave and go for it. Your spark of energy for God will be faithfully tended to by His Spirit and His Word. Trust that God can do this work in you and that He wants to.
Embers glow hotter, stronger and longer when they are grouped together. Consider throwing your ember in with others and growing alongside friends.
Kindle afresh the work of God in you. It takes many small steps—carefully and patiently taken. Each step is worth it, no effort is ever wasted.
If you have a spark, you have a fighting chance at a bonfire.
written by lindsay schott