The deepest level of community is described as a place where my fears are known and I am loved. This level of community is closely associated with a place where we can share our dreams and we are not laughed out of the room. Do you have a place where you can go like this? I hope so.
I have been told that many therapists and counselors spend a great deal of time listening to the dreams and fears – because it is a safe place created by a contract. I believe that counseling and therapy is a huge need, but I think it is sad that so many have to pay someone to satisfy this need for community.
I am sure that some of you think that you are not afraid of anything, and if you were asked to articulate your fears at any moment would respond with something like, “I have nothing to fear, because God is on my side.” Though true on some level, the reality is that we are all driven or debilitated by fear at any given moment. It isn’t the fear that is the problem, it is what we do with the fear and how we handle it.
Scripture is clear, we have not been given a spirit of fear by God. He does not want us to be given over to our fear, but He wants us to overcome the fears that we are certain to face in our lives. We must fan into flame the Gift of God – His Spirit of love in our lives. This Gift of Love drives our fears into submission to our faith in a loving God. If we know that we are loved by the Father, and we trust that His eyes are upon us, then we are faced with some choices – will we trust Him with our fears? Do we believe that He is able and willing to move on our behalf?
This is certainly easier said than done when we are struggling with fear. I would suggest that self-control is the key to appropriating the faith necessary to overcome debilitating fear. But we also need to be reminded that self-control is an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit and therefore a gift from God. Therefore, the power to live in love, in faith, in self-control, and overcome fear comes from this Gift of God – the Holy Spirit. This Flame, a metaphor of the Holy Spirit, must be fanned, embraced, nurtured within us.
How are you fanning the gift of the Holy Spirit into full flame?
Do you regularly express your fears to the Holy Spirit and then declare your trust? This simple step develops our faith and trust in the Spirit and then grows the impact of the Holy Spirit in us. When we submit and trust Him with our lives, He is able to do more and accomplish more in and through us.
We all need to regularly be reminded of who God is and how He works in our lives and this alone can fan the Gift of God into full flame. I find that reading scripture, the Bible, does this for me. As I read the stories of faith and see God’s finger-work in people’s lives, I am left with a sense of wonder and trust. Furthermore, as I read about who He is and who I am in Him, I am forced to trust Him – at least on a cognitive level. This brings my attitude into submission to my faith.
Finally, we need to spur one another on in our faith – or fan the Gift of God into full flame in one another. We need to pray for one another and encourage one another to live in dependence upon the Holy Spirit and remind each other that He has our best interests at heart. In community, we learn to share our fears, dreams and expectations. In community, we learn to fan into flame the Gift of God.
“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 God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” – 2 Timothy 1:6-7