I was one of millions of Americans that lost their power last week due to the winter storms. As of writing this, there are still tens of thousands of people who are without it. The first thing that I had to worry about whenever my power went out was how I was going to stay warm. Fortunately for me, my house is equipped with a fireplace in the basement. I lived my life very close to that fire for a couple days until someone graciously took in my two cats, my 115-pound dog, and me until my power was restored. In order to keep my area a semi-comfortable temperature, I had to constantly be throwing wood into the fire. Even throughout the night, I had to wake up every few hours to toss in another log or two. That fire was of the utmost importance for the two days that I was stuck in my house without power.
My fire started to die down a little bit when I woke up the second day. I did what anyone would do in that situation, I started to blow on the embers to reignite the blaze. That is when part of 2 Timothy 1:6 came to my mind, “Fan the flame of the gift of God.” That verse is actually talking about the Holy Spirit. Coupling it with 2:7, they read, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.”
The Holy Spirit is, in my opinion, the least talked about person of the Trinity. We regularly talk about the Father and the Son, but only sporadically talk about the Holy Spirit. I find that ironic because the Holy Spirit is currently dwelling in all of those who have placed their faith in Christ. Isn’t that almost unbelievable? It’s true! 1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” We have the presence of God inside of us. Take a moment and let that sink in. According to the 1 Timothy 2:7, the Spirit gives us “power, love, and self-discipline.” This allows us to live our lives as God desires for us. It is through the Holy Spirit that we have the power to love God and love others as we should.
Love is the common thread that runs throughout all of scripture. Not only God’s love for us, but God’s call for us to love our neighbors. Love needs to be the focal point of what we do and the defining characteristic of who we are. As 1 Corinthians 13:2 states, if we are without love, then we are nothing. If we’re being honest though, it is not easy to love those who are around us all the time. Yes, it is easier to love those whom we like (though that is still sometimes a struggle), but it is quite difficult to love those whom we don’t like. However, Jesus tells us in John 13:34, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” This isn’t optional. We have been given our marching orders by our Savior. Think about all the times in which you were probably not easy to love. Think about all the times that you have openly rebelled against God. Think about the times when you have not loved Christ as you should. None of that ever stopped him from fully loving you. This is the type of love that we are to share with others: complete, never-ending, and ever-forgiving love.
How do we love others like that? To circle back around to the original verse, we need to “fan the flame.” We need to pour some gasoline on the fire that is the Holy Spirit living in us. The way in which that is possible is by putting ourselves to the side. We can easily become so inward focused that we don’t care about the others around us. When our minds are consumed by only our own wants and needs, we quiet the voice of the Holy Spirit. That still, small voice is always wanting to speak to us, but we need to shut the other noise off in order to hear. This can be done through prayer, being in silence, reading scripture, meditating, writing, or any other way that allows your brain to take a little break. You will be amazed at what the Spirit will say to you if you turn off all of the noise of this world. Then, throughout the day, ask the in-dwelling presence of God, “What now?” After you ask that question, do something crazy and wait for a response. The Spirit will lead you; I promise. Wherever you are led by the Spirit is exactly where you are supposed to be. More often than not, you will be led to love someone, just as Christ has loved you.
Whenever I lost my power, I needed to constantly make sure that my fire was burning in order to survive. That is no different than what we must do with the holy fire that is us in order to survive this world. We have unmatched power dwelling inside of us. That power is not to be used for selfish gain or to oppress others, as much of the power in this world does. This power is meant to guide us and enable us to love others beyond anything that we could do ourselves. So, quiet the noise of this world, throw another log on that fire, blow on those embers, set the Spirit ablaze in your heart, and go out and love others in a way that changes the lives of those around you. That is the only way in which we can truly make this world a better place.