Okay, so I went Titanic crazy today, but as I looked at this picture of a piece of coal from the Titanic wreck (it was a gift), I was reminded of the necessity of the power of the Spirit of God in our lives to experience all the Christ died to give us, not just in Heaven later, but now! Coal is fuel, but it must be ignited by fire to release its stored energy to power an old ocean liner like the Titanic, to produce electricity, or to be used in manufacturing.
Of course, there is another use for coal...it becomes a diamond after years and years of extreme pressure. This reminds me that God gives us the "flame" of His Spirit and allows us to experience the pressures of life to mold us into the image of Christ.
We neglect this reality to our peril. So often Christian get duped into believing the Christian experience is one only of compliance to a set of rules (like every other religion)...it's not...at its heart is a relationship. So take Paul's wisdom to Timothy...PAY ATTENTION TO GOD'S FLAME WITHIN YOU, and don't try to escape all the pressure around you....first ask your Father to grant you wisdom and power to respond to your circumstances to His glory and for the good of others, after all, God is working to create in you an amazingly powerful and beautiful representation of His grace and glory to a world so greatly in need of it!
Oh, here's what Paul said to Timothy and to us: 5I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 6For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:5-7