by Michelle Harding
Founder President of Life by Design Ministries, Hurlock, MD
Assistant Senior Leader at Church of The King, Easton, MD
One of my favorite things in the world is to sit near a camp fire on a chilly night in the mountains listening to owls call out in the darkness and gaze up into a star strewn sky . I get lost in the flames as I watch them dance to and fro and find comfort in its cheery warmth. In those moments everything melts away, peace comes, and I can breathe deeper than I have in months. The thought of those beautiful nights on the Blue Ridge Mountains led to a powerful encounter with Jesus and another revelation on unlocking our prophetic destiny.
A camp fire requires diligence, intentionality, and fuel to keep it going. If a fire is neglected or allowed to just run its natural course, it will go out. A fire requires fuel and oxygen to burn. We have to continually add wood and keep stoking it by stirring the coals and making sure it is getting oxygen. When we add wood we stir the coals underneath to help kindle the new log and we ensure there is plenty of space for oxygen to meet the flame and many times we have to fan or blow on the coals to release the fire hidden below.
In 2 Timothy 1:6 Paul tells his beloved Timothy "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." This spiritual father is reminding his spiritual son to keep the fire of his calling burning, to keep the flame alive, keep it stoked. Don't let it go out.
Like Timothy, many of us need to be reminded to stir up the gift of God that is in us. To be reminded to fan the flame of passion, calling, or gifting. Maybe, we need to be reminded to stir up the passion of our first love and to come back to deeper fellowship with Father. Perhaps what once burned with fervor and zeal now lies in the cold dormancy of complacency. And for some, prolonged delay of the promises of God has caused hope to be deferred and are now heart sick with what is not.
In my encounter with the Lord, He began to show me how tending to that camp fire is very much the same as tending to my spiritual life and calling. You see, too enjoy the beauty and warmth of the camp fire, I have to make intentional efforts to keep it burning. This also applies to our spiritual lives and especially in unlocking our prophetic destinies. It will require consistent and intentional effort in our lives to keep the flame burning and the passion to pursue destiny. This isn't about works, but it is about cultivating relationship and stoking that inner flame.
Fuel: It is important we are fueling the flame. Regularly take in the Word of God, listen to great teaching, and surround yourself with people that pour into your life and calling. Read books, blogs, magazines, by those doing what you are called to an allow them to inspire your passion and calling.
Oxygen: In tending a fire you must be sure the fire is getting oxygen or it suffocates. It is the same in our spiritual lives and with our destinies. If we don't make room for God to breathe life into our dreams and passions they'll suffocate under the weight of life. Be sure to make room throughout the day for just a few moments of Father time. They can be seconds long to hours. Just do them. In that moment, check in with heaven, acknowledge you are loved and tell Father how much you love Him. Take a few moments and just see Jesus, breathe in His presence. Check in with Holy Spirit, asking for His leading and wisdom. Let these moments, whether organized and scheduled or spontaneous; be moments that breathe pure life into you.
Also, allow prayer to breathe upon your heart and to awaken dreams that have fallen silent. Repeatedly scripture encourages us to pray without ceasing, to pray fervently, and to be anxious for nothing, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving to make our requests to God. In Jeremiah, God tells us if we come to Him, He will listen to us. Romans 8:26 tells us, "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans." Prayer is life to our spirit.
Stir the coals: Ask yourself, are there areas "that once burned bright and clear" that are now cloudy and dim? Are there things you once did to keep the fire burning, that you no longer do? If there are any, stir those things back up in your life by simply returning to them.
One of the most powerful ways I have learned to stir the coals in my life, the thing that releases the inner flame in the greatest measure, is to pray in the Spirit. Yes, I mean to pray in tongues. I have found this to be the most powerful thing I can do to stir my spirit and bring clarity and focus.
Fueling the fire nourishes, inspires, and enriches our inner man. Making room for the Lord to breathe into our lives, quickens what was dormant and releases power to be effective for His Kingdom. Stirring the coals awakens the fire that is hidden inside even the smallest embers. So let us set in our hearts as were stepping into unlocking the fullness of destiny, to continue to stoke the fires of passion and purpose. Let us endeavor to keep our spirit fed, tended to, and stirred up. When we let a fire run its course naturally, it will burn out and grow cold. If we are not careful, and are not intentional with the life in the Spirit, our spirit along with our callings and destiny, will also burn out and grow cold. Let us tend to the fire of our life so we don't find ourselves ministering and living out of the ash that once burned with holy passion.
Eric Reeder is joined by other leaders of RISEmovement to reveal the heartbeat of The HOPE-filled Gospel.