Fire is fascinating! I remember when I was growing up, we had a neighbour boy who was several years older than me. This boy created a small wooden house made out of popsicle sticks and then – to my amazement and wonder – he lit it on fire on the cement blocks between our houses and watched it burn. At that age I didn’t know what a “pyro” was, but that is definitely what this guy was all about. I was mesmerized.
I also remember going camping with our family when I was younger. My dad would start a fire and, when it started to go out, he would blow on it to make the fire come back into full flame. When I tried, I blew too hard and fast from the top and caused more problems. My dad showed me how to blow on the fire “low and slow.” You put your face down sideways and blow gently along the ground over with a long breath to add the oxygen needed to bring the fire back to full flame.
As a parent, you might be like me and want your kids to choose to have a sincere, personal and active faith in Jesus. We want their faith to be sincere and to burn brightly. We want to help them, to teach them, and we may even come to realize the need for us as parents to model this kind of faith for them.
Timothy was a young man being encouraged by an older mentor named Paul to boldly live out the calling that God had placed on his life. As you read the passage, notice how warmly Paul speaks about God and Timothy. You will see the importance of a godly family heritage but also the need for a personal acceptance and growth in a sincere faith.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 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.
2 Timothy 1:1-6 NIV
It’s clear from this passage that Timothy had the spark of genuine faith in Jesus. It was a sincere faith that he personally owned. Rather than being an actor or faking it, he actually had a genuine faith that Paul was encouraging him to develop.
We see that Timothy’s sincere faith was influenced greatly by his grandmother and mother. This heritage is a valuable thing. Continuing, strengthening or starting such a Christian family culture is a noble endeavour for a Christian parent. Not everyone has a strong Christian background, but if you are a parent who is a Christian, you can see the value of providing such a heritage for your children and grandchildren.
It’s amazing to think that each kid must decide themselves if they’re going to have a sincere faith in God! Our job as parents is to teach and instruct our children about saying a big YES to Jesus but also live out what it means to follow Christ in a daily way.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God
John 1:12 NIV
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved
Romans 10:9 NIV
The spark of sincere faith begins simply. This is great news! God has made a way for us to be saved from the penalty of our sin and to be called children of God! We might want this for our kids but it’s still their choice to say a big YES to God and follow Him. I’m not a perfect parent, but I’m glad I can be a part of influencing my kids toward their decision to develop a since faith.
As a parent, what can you do this week that will fan into flame your own sincere, active faith? How can you help your child benefit from a strong Christian heritage? Can you think of something you can thank your parents for? Send them a message!
Paul prayed night and day for his “son in the faith.” Can you stop right now and pray for your kids, that they would have a sincere faith in Jesus?
Be sure to come back and check the blog for Part 2 of the Fan into Flame series: 10X More Bold