This weekend I had the opportunity to go camping with friends for my birthday. It was such a blessing and it just really showed me how many people God has put in my life that love me and care and are authentic friends. I am so overwhelmed with gratitude.
I love camping, but sadly I never sleep well when I camp so I normally just wake up pretty early, hike around, and enjoy the sunrise. This morning though I was a little chilly, so I decided I would try to start the fire. Now I would call myself a fire building novice in general but I CAN START A FIRE. Spending time in Alaska last summer definitely taught me some essential fire building skills but never before have I started a fire without matches or a lighter.
This morning though I didn't have matches and didn't want to waken my friends so I decided to arise to the challenge of lighting a fire with ashes from the night's before and a little paper and twigs. It took a long time of moving little sticks and pieces of paper around, blowing, and snapping wood.. but finally a small flame came to be. And from that flame, with much more work and time and care, I was able to ignite a large warm fire
2 Timothy 1:6 "For this reason I am reminding you to fan into the flames the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands."
I also love the Pathfinder song.. "It only takes a spark to get a fire going, and soon all those around can warm up to it's going. That's how it is with God's love once you experience it. You spread his love to everyone you want to pass it on."
I think the foundation of the fire is the most important part to determine how long it will burn. How you lay the wood and sticks and how close you put them together determines the outcome of your fire. If your wood is too far apart, when you light it, it will go out quickly after it burns.
Likewise we need Christian fellowship and encouragement. How can we remain strong in Christ without brothers and sisters that challenge us to grow and uplift us when we are weak? What can be more encouraging than testimonies by believers in a community? If we want to grow in Christ, we must set our weak selves up for success by choosing mentors and wise believers in the faith that love God like we do.
The song says that if we are experiencing God's love we will want to pass it on! Ellen White says that if we are of Christ our sweetest thoughts should be of Him, that we should want to talk about Him all the time to our friends. Sometimes in this day and age, I hesitate to bring up the name Jesus to friends I don't know super well. But sometimes when I take the risk and start a conversation, people open up and share and stories arise of how Christ is at work or how they need prayer. Talking about God and struggles and being vulnerable is so important. Nothing encourages me more than hearing how God is at work in the lives of my friends and family! They keep my fire going.
I've been so blessed by God to have so many amazing spiritual friends but I haven't always felt like I had such a close knit spiritual community. It takes effort to create authentic Christ loving fellowship and to help kindle each other's fires. I want to encourage you that relationships are so important and do truly make an eternal difference in Christ's kingdom. Let's kindle the fire, don't let it go completely out, let's help our brothers and sisters to stay ablaze.