Fire is an amazing thing to watch, to feel, to control, to put out, to ignite, to fuel, to whatever. There is so much in a flame that just mesmerizes me and makes me want to “touch it!” OUch!!! Can’t do that! Fire can be good and fire can be bad. Fire can destroy and fire can give life. I was watching the movie, The Abyss, the other night and in their story line they told the story of an exploratory group many miles down in the ocean. They had one problem after the other, but one thing was for sure, “The water was cooooooold.” In one scene Ed Harris has to swim underwater without a wetsuit for about 100 yards to get to a hatch so he could free his men from a room. Of course, the hatch was frozen shut, so he went another 100 yards to a docking station. He came out of the water and his body was starting to contract so hard he almost couldn’t function. Cold does that to you. Your blood starts to freeze up and pretty soon you can’t control yourself anymore. I’ve felt this coldness coming for a few years in Christian circles. The warmth of close, personal friendships are few and far between and the coldness is felt by all. In 2 Timothy 1:1-7 Paul reminds Timothy of his warm, deep, sincere faith that was fostered by his grandmother and mother. He reminded him of his “roots” and the importance of those roots. In reminding Timothy he was affirming that his life exhibited that kind of faith also and that it was good. Real good. Too many times our relationships are cold and indifferent and the very thing we need is almost unreachable because of “cold habits” we’ve allowed to creep into our lives. We have gone deep to get away from being open and honest and pride now controls our existence. Pride that keeps us on guard to make sure we don’t have to admit we don’t quite have it all together yet. We are so deep that now the warmness of Christian fellowship and friendship have been replaced with coldness and rigidity. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but believe me it’s dangerous. Why? The sincere faith each of us has is linked to a bigger picture, Godly warmth. That warmth is what gives individuals and the church their strength and identity. This special fellowship is the flame that keeps the coldness of a lost world from overwhelming the strong, warm fellowship of believers. Jesus emphasized the point when He said in Matthew 18:20, “where two are more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” In Matthew 12:50 Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” We are His and He is the source of our family warmth. Tommy Boy Quote….”Brothers don’t shake hands, brothers hug!” So we find our warmth, our flame, our spark from doing the will of Jesus. It burns brighter when we combine that with other believers who are of The Way. That flame gets brighter and brighter and that is a model of a healthy, New Testament Church. On fire!!
Paul basically tells Timothy, “the flame is in you. Now let it go brighter and brighter.” He uses the word “fan” into flame. If you have ever started a fire from scratch you know it needs oxygen and the fanning motion ignites the fire from a spark. Years ago I used to lead a worship song called “Pass it On.” It went like this; it only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm to it’s glowing.” There’s the truth of the whole thing. Keep good surface relationships and guard those warm friendships that only Christ can give. In fact, fan the flame and let those friendships get closer and closer and soon others will want to experience that warmth in their lives. No need to keep drawing away from others and keeping to ourselves. Good, warm open fellowship that fosters loving communication. What a buzz that is…..Get warm in your relationship with Jesus, and the go warm some others with cool hearts. You will be so much better for it. Fan the flame!! If you have Jesus, that flame is in YOU!!! In 1 Corinthians 5:4 Paul writes,”Assemble the community-I’ll be present in spirit with you and our Master Jesus will be present in power!” Wow! Now that’s what I call a warming front….
The Pilgrimage continues….