Paul was languishing in a cold dungeon, chained like a common criminal, and he knew his death was near. “This ancient prison could have been called the “House of Darkness.” Few prisons were as dim, dank, and dirty as the lower chamber Paul occupied. Its “neglect, darkness, and stench” gave it “a hideous and terrifying appearance.”¹
This is where Paul wrote these words, “Fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.” 2 Timothy 1:6 NLT
I can’t keep reading. I have to stop and read his last letter with the realization that the Apostle Paul used his waning strength to pen these words. I want to understand it fully.
Have you ever been on a camp out and couldn’t get a fire going? Maybe you get a little spark, but it goes out. If you blow on it just right it starts to catch. You carefully add more kindling and fan it some more. If you keep fanning it, eventually you will have a bon fire!
This is the metaphor Paul used to encourage Timothy to develop his ministry.
Do you know what gift God has given you? Is it to proclaim His glory through the written word? Has He put a desire in you to write about what He has done?
I don’t mean: Are you a gifted writer? I mean: Has God put a deep desire in your heart to write and share what He has done for you? Has He asked you to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God?” 2 Corinthians 1:4 NIV
If you aren’t a professional writer, your efforts may start like that little spark, but eventually you will see the bonfire you desire. How? Practice, learn, do, never give up. You’ll keep getting better!
I still have a lot to learn. I spend a lot of time studying the craft of writing. I certainly haven’t “arrived”, but these are the things that have helped me most:
- “The aim of writing is to move the reader to tears or to laughter, and to a new point of understanding.”
- “People want inspiration and application.”
- Study the writing of an author you admire.
- After I write the first draft, I rewrite, rewrite, and edit ruthlessly.
- Stay focused on the message. Don’t ramble.
- Look at each sentence. Can I say it in fewer words?
- When you think it’s perfect, wait and read it again the next day. If you’re happy with it, then hit publish.
Now go fan into flames the gift God has given you!
INSPIRE! ENCOURAGE! TEACH!
SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST WITH THE WORLD!
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
Do you want to become a Christian? Click this link to learn more: Who Is Jesus?
¹Historical Background of Paul’s Final Imprisonment, by Derrick G. Jeter, Insight for Living Ministries, August 14, 2017
Photo by Arnau Soler on Unsplash