FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD
In the first chapter of the Second Letter to Timothy, Apostle Paul encourages his beloved disciple, to ‘fan into flame the Gift of God’ (2Timothy 1:6).
Some interpreters assume Paul was referring to Timothy’s ordination, when he was entrusted by the Presbytery to the Ministry (1Timothy 4:14), but judging by the context, it seems he was referring to the Holy Spirit, whom is assumed, Timothy received by the hands of Paul alone (2Timothy 1:6), also evaluating Paul’s affirmation of the characteristics of the Spirit of God, when is conferred to us (‘Spirit of power, love and self-control’). Qualities that identify more with the regenerated nature of a common Christian, than gifts that pertain to the ordained Ministry.
Regardless, the main idea is that Timothy was able to ‘fan’ the Holy Spirit in him.
We receive the Holy Spirit as a gift, meaning, not by ‘earning’ the right to have it, but by purely the Grace of God (Titus 3:5). But if we receive Him by Grace, why do we need to ‘fan’ it?.
Firstly, we must have our Pneumatology straight. We need to come to terms and know that the Holy Spirit is not, by essence, just a force sent by God or Jesus, but an independent entity from the Father and the Son, even though it shares the divinity with them (John 14:16,26; 16:7; Romans 8:27; 1Timothey 4:1). When we are regenerated, this regeneration includes the coming of this Holy Spirit, who in his divinity carries also the presence of Father Lord YHWH and our Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:17-18, 23).
If the Holy Spirit is an entity, independent and divine, we cannot ‘fan’ Him like if He was an energy or a faculty. We cannot increase Him or diminish Him, like if He was a measurable element. We either have Him or not have Him, and if we do, we have Him entirely, not partially.
To what does Paul refers then when he recommends to ‘fan the Spirit’, or to not ‘quench the Spirit” (1Thessalonians 1:9), like if He was a flammable element?
He means to the faculties and gifts of this Divine Spirit within us.
We cannot diminish God. God is omnipresent and omnipotent; much more of what the brightest mind could conceive. But his manifestation in us, his gifts and freely given faculties, can be used or ignored by us, through negligence and sinfulness, and that is what Paul is speaking about.
We can ‘quench’ the gifts of the Spirit in us, if we neglect a personal relationship with God, or through sinfulness and pride, which makes us follow our own desire and passion, by ignoring the impulses of the Spirit of God in us.
On the other side, we can ‘fan the gifts of the Spirit’, by maintaining a close relationship with God, living in holiness and according to God’s will. This will increase our devotion and closeness to God, and as a consequence, will develop the growth of the divine gifts in us.
To growth in closeness to the Divine Spirit, or to distance ourselves from Him, is entirely our own prerogative and doing. God never rejects a contrite spirit (John 6:37) and willing heart.
We are the ones who decide to follow the path of holiness, to which we are all called; or the path of worldliness, which we are supposed to have renounced when we converted and were baptized.
However, the Seal of God, the Holy Spirit, remains in us, through our entire lives, regardless (Ephesians 1:13). Until we come to the Great White Throne at the Judgement Day.