While reading in Ezra, the words “stirred up” lit up bright grabbing my attention. No, not literally. I knew however this was the Holy Spirit getting my attention. In this passage God stirs up the spirit of King Cyrus, to fulfill his prophetic word spoken years earlier. The prophecy, “After 70 years of captivity Israel would be brought back to their land.” The words, stirred up are often said or written with a negative connotation. He stirred up trouble. She stirred up a hornets nest, etc. Stirring up in this passage is a good thing.
Exploring the Scriptures further I read in 2 Timothy 1:6, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” The original Greek word translated stir up is, anazopureo and it means to rekindle. The prefix ana means repetition, intensity, reversal. The root or base of this word is similar to lightning – bright, intense, powerful and living, or active. Depending on which Bible translation you’re reading you may find anazopureo translated as to fan into flame, to revive, or to kindle afresh. Paul is telling Timothy to share boldy his faith. To shore himself up so that when difficult times come, and they will, or others hurl insults, shame him for his belief – batter and abuse, and they will, he will have the strength to continue. Anazopureo is an ongoing, active, intentional stirring. It is stirring done with unwavering purpose. I knew the Lord was teaching me that my flame was diminishing
Why? Let’s be honest. Circumstances in my life this year have been challenging. Challenging circumstances piling one on top of the other has been my ride thus far in 2016. If I were riding a roller coaster I would be stuck in a hard pressed curve, hanging upside down waiting for a rescue. There’s been moments where I’ve felt alone, abandoned and on my own; exhausted with nothing left to fight. The voice of Satan in my ear daily, “If God truly loved you, you wouldn’t be going through this. He would take these challenges all away!” Sadly there have been times I wondered where is God in all this? The more I allowed discouragement to settle in, the more I withdrew. I ignored the flame within, I ignored my research and my writing. I didn’t spend time in prayer and I didn’t read my Bible. It’s no wonder my flame was waning.
How do we keep the flame, the fire, burning?
- First one must know, recognize and acknowledge they have a gift. What is the gift or gifts, (talents, skills, things you like to do) that make you smile. What makes you want to get up each morning? And from a Christian point of view – what spiritual gifts has the Holy Spirit placed within you. Throughout my lifetime I’ve been blessed with many gifts. Currently in this season of my life it’s writing and studying the Bible. I love to see the Scriptures come alive; up close and personal (sometimes maybe a wee bit too personal) 🙂 🙂 🙂 My writing is a joy and I am so glad the Holy Spirit allows me to minister to others through the written word.
- Spend time in the Word of God, daily. It is fuel for the fire! Don’t just read it …. study it! Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what he wants you to know for that day. Digest it, “chew” upon what you read throughout the day. Ask yourself how it applies to you, personally and in whatever circumstance you find yourself in.
- Admit your passion, your umph, is waning. Ask the Lord to reignite your desire. Ask him to reveal anything that needs to be changed or removed, which might be extinguishing the flame. Explore opportunities and activities which might boost and rekindle your desire. Perhaps attending a conference in your field or taking a class to boost your skills would be in order.
- Sometimes a temporary withdrawal is needed; a vacation or mini retreat. I have a friend who every now and then simply takes a day off of work. No, not due to illness put a day to be silly, spend time doing something out of the ordinary. Be a kid again.
- Indulge in a day of fasting and prayer. Go to resort or a quiet spot at a lake or alongside a stream. If those are not options, try a cool bench in a park. The goal is to find a place where one can pull away from all the distractions of life, to invest in a time of refreshing for clarity and redirection.
- Seek wise council from a trusted friend. Sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees, as the saying goes. Chatting with a trusted friend often helps me sort out the cobwebs and breathe new life into my flickering flame.
- Recognize that gifts change. Passions can change as our seasons of life change. Is there something else that is calling you to action? Explore the opportunities.
Last but not least, remember the Holy Spirit is the giver of the gift. He knows best how to keep the flame burning. We are not gifted and expected to do it on our own or in our own strength. We are to rely on the giver of the gift. “I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Until next time,