I saw this movie once when I was in high school. It was about these fires that were seemingly small, but once a window or door was opened and oxygen was allowed in, the fire would roar to life, consuming everything and everyone in its path.
Of course, it got me thinking about the devil, sin, and how we open the door for him to get in.
Let’s use sex as an example.
We know from the word that sex before marriage is a sin. When we’re not involved or dating someone, it’s easier to stay in right standing.
But, then we meet him. And things begin to drastically change.
It starts with the packaging. His beard is tight. His suit is tailored. He makes eye contact and has an Orbitz-bright smile. Then, if he’s smart, he says something to make you smile. Now you’re both smiling. Then you talk and engage. You laugh out loud! He likes what you like. You like what he likes. Good stuff!
The Conception of Lust
Oh, wait, now. He believes in Jesus. Check. He goes to church. Check. He wants to be married. He wants children. Chiggedy check!
A week passes. More conversations. A date. A kiss. More conversations. Another week passes. Another date. Another kiss. A hug. A deeper hug. Smoke. More conversations. Jackpot. You think you’re in love. The conversation begins to shift from Christ to carnal thangs.
This fire could be put out with something as simple as “So, how about those Yankees?” But we are stimulated by it. It’s not like we’re doing anything. We’re just talking. It’s good to know these things: what he likes, what you like.
At night when you go to bed, if the conversation is not happening while you’re actually in the bed, you can’t think of anything but that.
You don’t pray. Instead, you lay awake imagining what it would be like to be with him.
You send a flirty text to him. He sends one back. He sends you a picture. You send him a picture.
The next date is something cozier – a Netflix and chill type of thing. You say to yourself, “He knows that I’m trying to wait.” But, you snuggle up to him on the couch. When you lean forward, his hand lands on your lady parts. (You pick the part. Just know it’s a part that is going to lead y’all into iniquitttttty.)
Y’all have a little wine. And, then he kisses you. And you liiiike it. And the door is opened.
The roaring flames of passion are upon you and you’re nekkid. And there is no going back because the Word of God says You must flee from sin! (2 Timothy 2:22). Flee – meaning take off running like the neighbor’s dog got loose and you look like a steak! If you could walk away from it, that would mean it wasn’t that strong in its power. BUT the Word says flee!
But, you didn’t flee. You didn’t even fl…
Since you’re all in now, you go for it again. And again. Until some months later you realize y’all don’t talk about God at all. Y’all don’t go anywhere. He says he’s not ready for a relationship. You haven’t prayed or been in your prayer closet. And you want to die because he is not returning your calls anymore.
Everything you thought you had burnt to a crisp by the small fires that were never put out.
Sin is not the Boogey Man, but a Killer
That’s the thing with sin. It doesn’t pop out of nowhere. It would be too obvious and a shock to our Christian sensibilities.
Of course, you would never commit adultery. But light flirting with the guy from marketing lights the fuse on those frisky fireworks and ultimately fizzles your marriage.
Of course, you would never steal money from the company. But “borrowing” petty cash for your morning breakfasts loses its sting after awhile. Soon it’s lunch, too. Hello, central booking!
This is why you will sometimes see people refuse certain appointments, invitations, or flirtations. For many, it is easier to avoid a situation than to try to get out of one (James 1:15).
So, what’s the play call?
First, examine yourself to see which sins you are most likely to fall prey to.
Second, examine those predicaments you’ve been in to see where you could have extinguished a small fire to avoid a large one.
Third, be on high alert for the small fires.
Fourth, call on the Living Water to put the flames out. He is the best fire extinguisher there is!
In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we’re reminded that, “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it.”