I. TO FAN OUR SPIRIT
Second Timothy 1:6-7 indicates that we need to fan our spirit into flame. In these verses Paul said, "For which cause I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of cowardice, but of power and of love and of sobermindedness." Some might think that these verses do not say that we should fan our spirit but that we should fan our gift. But if you get into these verses, you will see that the fanning of our gift into flame is the fanning of our spirit into flame. Paul tells us in verse 6 to "fan into flame the gift of God." Then in verse 7 he says, "For God has not given us a spirit..." Our God-given spirit is what we must fan into flame. We have to fan our spirit.
We have to know the background of 2 Timothy to appreciate Paul’s word here. Paul wrote this book during a difficult time for his spiritual son Timothy. Paul was in prison in Rome. Furthermore, all those in Asia had forsaken Paul’s ministry (v. 15). The churches in Asia were the main churches raised up through Paul’s ministry, but they forsook him. Timothy was there among them. If you were Timothy, how would you face the situation? People could have said to Timothy, "Why are you still following Paul? All the saints in Asia have forsaken him. Also, if God were really with him, He would rescue him from the prison in Rome." No doubt, Timothy was discouraged. Otherwise, Paul would not have said, "For which cause I remind you..." Timothy was discouraged and had to be reminded. Paul knew Timothy was down and he sympathized with him. He reminded Timothy that there was still a small fire within him which he needed to fan into flame.
At times you may suffer to such an extent that you may begin to doubt God and doubt your salvation. But regardless of how much you doubt, one thing is within you which you cannot deny— your spirit. You are not like a beast. You have a spirit. This spirit is a trouble to Satan. Regardless of how much work Satan has done and is still doing, there is one thing within that he cannot touch— our spirit. We need to fan our spirit into flame.
We may say that the gift of God which we must fan into flame is a spiritual gift. But without our spirit, how could we have the gift? The spiritual gift is in our spirit. There is fire in our regenerated spirit, which is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Actually, we may say that our spirit is the fire.
A small fire that is fanned into flame can turn into a great fire. A forest fire is an example of this. The wind fans the small fire into a great fire. If something were burning within a house, and you wanted to fan that fire, you would open the window or the door. The wind would cause the fire to burn into a flame. The easiest way for you to fan your spirit is to open up your mouth.
If you want to fan your spirit into flame, you need to open up your mouth, open up your heart, and open up your spirit. You need to open these three layers of your being. You have to use your mouth to say, "O Lord Jesus." But then you have to go deeper by using your mouth with your heart to say, "O Lord Jesus." Then you need to go even deeper by using your mouth with your heart and with your spirit to say, "O Lord Jesus." This is to open up your spirit from deep within. Then the fire burns. If you are down, you should call, "O Lord Jesus" again and again from deep within with the exercise of your spirit. Then you will be up.
(The Spirit with Our Spirit, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)