There are so many things that can smother the fire. The above picture is a demonstration of smothering the fire with a fire blanket; one of many ways to put out the fire.
“PUTTING A LID ON IT!”
According to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency), cooking fires in the home are more likely to occur on Thanksgiving Day than any other day of the year. Over 3,660 civilian injuries and 1220 deaths take place from fires in the home from simply panicking to an onset of a stove top fire. They attempt to move the firey pan, which usually leads to burns. Also, grease fires on the stove top become more serious when water is applied, making things worse in spreading the fire. What is the simplest and safest method of smothering the flames? “Putting a lid on it!” The method cuts off the air supply and without oxygen, the fire is extinguished.
SMOTHERING THE INNER FIRE
2 Timothy 1:6: “stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you”.
When you hear the word fire, it generally brings a negative reaction. But there are positive and negative sides to many things that happen in a lifetime of experiences. There are positive emotions and negative emotions; God gave us emotions so it can’t be all bad. Fire has many negatives and positives also; joy from the atmosphere created by logs burning in a fireplace on a cold night. Heat created from an intense flame, enough to keep you warm on the beach or heat an entire home. The negative side of fire is obvious; destruction, injury and even death.
The inner fire, the flames burning that Paul is referring to in 2 Timothy is a fire produced from the gift of God; the Holy Spirit. To smother the inner fire that resides on the inside of believers is a definite negative response! It can certainly result in destruction, injury and even death (not of your salvation) to your profitability as the servant of the Lord (2 Timothy 1:21, 24).
#1. WILFUL SIN WILL DO IT!
Our Lord told us, the candle of testimony may be smothered by the bushel or the bed (Matthew 5:15). The bushel stands for money-making; the cares of business, the temporal concerns of this life. The bed stands for luxury, ease and worldly pleasures that surround Christians today.
#2, NEGLECT WILL SMOTHER THE FIRE!
Let the fire alone, without tending to it, the flames will burn low and ashes will gather. If we neglect the means of grace, prayer, the Word and holy exercise, we shall soon need a “stirring“.
#3. OTHERS CAN QUENCH THE SPIRIT AND SMOTHER OUR FIRE!
“Stir up the gift of God”
If [the Christians] allow it: men will tone them down, steal the joy of salvation, and show the dreary level of mediocrity (see my blog; “What Does the Bible Say About Mediocrity” and “Helpful Bible Verses to Stay Out of Mediocrity”).
If the devil can’t keep us from being saved, he does the next best thing. He makes “average Christians” out of us and he usually succeeds. Satan doesn’t mind if we become church members, as long as we behave like most already inside.
When a real, wide awake Christian breezes along, taking the Gospel seriously; the devil grows alarmed. He begins plotting our downfall.
#4. FEAR CAN CHOKE THE FIRE!
Fire needs oxygen (air) for it to breathe and burn. The more air it gets, the brighter, the hotter the flames.
“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear)” (2 Timothy 1:7).
If God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, then who did? If you are experiencing fear from “stirring up the inner FIRE”, it must be coming from the enemy (the devil).
God gave us a spirit of:
–A SOUND MIND; Discipline, calmness and self-control.
The man in Scripture who hid his talent said, “I was afraid” (Matthew 25:18, 25).
1. Fear of the past.
2. Fear of the present.
3. Fear of the future.
4. Fear of others; what they might think of us.
5. Fear of failure.
6. Fear of sickness.
7. Fear of death!
Whatever fear you might have is not of God. You have to confess with your mouth right now; “NO FEAR HERE!”
LET US REMEMBER …
Let us remember the stirring up the gift of God. It’s our business; God will not do it for us. We must rouse ourselves from spiritual lethargy and get down to business with:
–FEEDING ON THE WORD OF GOD.
–A HOLY EXERCISE.
A STORY OUT OF SCOTLAND;
I have been told, from an old aunt years ago, that the Thompson Family descended from Scotland. There is even a Thompson Crest available for sale on the internet. Whether the story is true or not is not relevant but fun to investigate and talk about with family members. I ran across a story that came out of Scotland years ago which drew me in:
Before the day of matches, all the fires had gone out
throughout the community.
The people set out looking for someone who had a FIRE.
At last, far up on a hillside, they found a humble home where
the hearthstone glowed a cheery flame.
Soon they were carrying coals here and there
and replenished their own blackened fireplaces.
Today there are weary hearts, discouraged souls and needy churches looking for souls with fire. Someone who has kept aglow, in spite of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Could that soul be you?