Ansell: Building a spiritual fire, vs. putting out everyday life fires
I’ve been reading in 2nd Timothy, and the Apostle Paul tells Timothy, a younger-middle aged pastor, to throw another log on the fire. Actually he tells him to, “fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands (2nd Timothy 1:6).” Why does this Rock Star of a Christian tell his protege to “fire up?” Because if we are honest our spiritual flame starts to go out if we are not intentional about keeping it going.
Later Paul tells Timothy to “share in suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2:3).” Then he says, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him (2:4).”
All of that sounds real good on Sunday morning about 11:25 am, I am more than ready to "suffer" and "serve" as I listen to myself preach - but what about on Monday morning when I’m trying to figure out which storage shed to buy and where to put it in the backyard? All of these things can serve as distractions and therefore keep us from “seeking first the Kingdom (Matthew 6:33).”
What about on Thursday night when the Blonde tells me our new house (all 1,100 square feet of it) doesn’t have enough room to put up our 18 year old fake Christmas tree so we need to to buy a “slim” tree from Amazon (one click). Then the baby girl (Klaire, the 22 year old that used to live at our house) is upset because she loves that 18-year-old tree, and what do we mean we are buying a new tree?
These are the fires we are putting out all week, and my point is it can be hard to remember that we are supposed to be building a spiritual fire and not necessarily spending all of our time putting out the everyday life fires (civilian pursuits) - does that make sense?
What’s the answer? Well, first of all God’s not mad at us. He knows we need storage buildings, and He knows we have to downsize, and that might mean our old plastic-not that great of a Christmas tree might need to be replaced. But - but I used a word earlier that is critical if we are going to stay revived in our walk with Jesus. Do you see the word “intentional” at the end of the first paragraph?
All of us should have a spiritual rhythm to our life, and we have to protect that rhythm. What I mean is, when do you intentionally spend time alone with Jesus? Jennifer gets up early while this tired, old preacher is still REM sleeping. She reads her Bible, prays and basically has coffee with Jesus. What about you? When do you have coffee with Jesus?
I have a friend that is a famous television preacher, and if I told you his name you would probably know him. My friend tells the story of getting up early once to spend time with the Lord, but he says he found out the Lord wasn’t awake yet. What he meant was, getting up early like the Blonde is not best for everyone, but each of us need to be intentional or the stress of storage buildings, new Christmas trees and unhappy family members will bring us down, and we will forget to keep the main thing, the main thing.
So go ahead, throw some wood on the fire and stay warm spiritually. He told me to tell you that.