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August 25, 2023
Fired Up
Pastor Philip De Courcy
2 Timothy 1: 6 - 7

God wants us on the boil for His glory, His Son, and gospel advancement. He wants us not to be lacking in zeal; He wants us to protect our spiritual fervor (Rom. 12:11). God wants us to maintain the spiritual glow. Make no mistake about it, God would rather cool down a fanatic than warm up a corpse. Just as the fire on the altar in the tabernacle was never to go out, so our zeal for God must never be allowed to flicker or fade (Lev. 6:13).

An admirer of Richard Baxter the Puritan remarked that “he would set the world on fire while another was lighting a match.” Of William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, someone exclaimed that “he was always at ninety in the shade.” Of James Denney, the great Scottish theologian and preacher, it was said that when preaching the gospel, he was often “at white heat.” Of George Whitefield, the revivalist and evangelist, Spurgeon said, “He lived. Other men seem to be only half alive; but Whitefield was all life, fire, wing and force.” Whitefield himself said, “I had rather wear out than rust out.”

Maintaining one’s spiritual glow is something God calls us to, and it was something that Paul demanded of Timothy (1 Tim. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:6–7). Whether because of a natural temperament of timidity (2 Tim. 1:7), ongoing health issues (1 Tim. 5:23), challenging circumstances (2 Tim. 1:8), or the intimidation of false teachers (2 Tim. 4:3–5), it seems that Timothy was in danger of becoming tepid in his gospel commitments and courage. To thwart that possibility, Paul—Timothy’s father in the faith—encourages this young minister to stir up or fan into a flame the work of God within (1 Thess. 5:19; 2 Tim. 1:6). Regarding his God-given potential and calling, Timothy was to maintain his spiritual glow. The tendency of any fire is to go out, and the tendency of any heart is to grow cold. Therefore, Timothy was to fan into a flame his passion to live the life designed for him by divine gifting. In the face of the temptation to shrink back or slow down, Timothy was to stir himself up to greater heights of devotion to God and love for neighbor. 

In the verses that surround this call to get fired up, Paul provides Timothy and us with some spiritual kindling, some fuel for the fire. (1) To remain fired up, we need people in our corner like Paul who believe in us as believers and who push us to greater depths and heights (2 Tim. 1:3–5). (2) To remain fired up, we need to remember that God has adequately equipped us and uniquely gifted us for a life of meaningful service to Him and others (2 Tim. 1:6). (3) To remain fired up, we have got to remember the coming judgment and our personal accountability to God (2 Tim. 1:6; 4:1, 6–8). (4) To remain fired up, we can and must rely on the infused power of the Holy Spirit to stay enthused (2 Tim. 1:7). (5) To remain fired up, we need to constantly warm ourselves by the fire of God’s love for us in the Lord Jesus (2 Tim. 1:7). (6) To remain fired up, we have to think straight in a crooked world through the cultivation of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7; 4:5). 

Fires must be watched over and worked on, and it is the same with a heart for God. Take these encouragements, and seek to maintain your spiritual glow. Go get fired up!