Playing With Fire

Staring at the Flames

There seems to be an almost natural fascination that human beings have with things that are dangerous for us. It is almost as if we cannot resist being in close proximity to things possibly harmful, or cannot resist finding ourselves in situations where the danger may present itself.

There are several stories of children, typically boys, burning themselves or worse with fireworks that follows this similar pattern. One story involved a young man literally holding a large firecracker in his hand while waving a lighter around the wick. Of course, the expected happened (to the surprise of the young man) and the wick started to burn. Unable to put it out, the young man panicked and the firecracker exploded, his hand still holding it tightly.

Temptation or Fascination?

In many ways, this is how many act in regard to sin. The irony is not lost that fully grown people can behave in a manner toward sin that is quite immature. How many stories begin with: “I just wanted to see” or “I wanted to experience for a moment” – similar to waving that flame around. When the inevitable occurs – the wick begins to burn – most panic and find them in a situation they would never have chosen. When things blow up in their face, they have no idea how they arrived at that particular moment.

This is not a new phenomenon in the world; in actuality it is as old as man himself. The things that made the forbidden fruit of the garden desirable only had such appeal because they were noticed. Had the tree been ignored, or man and woman chosen someplace else to spend their time, the temptation would not have had the same hold upon them. Had the woman chosen better company, perhaps things would have ended differently.

Run Away!

It is for this reason that Christians are told to flee from tempting situations. It is for this reason that Christians are commanded to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thes. 5:22, NASU). There are many things in life we would never chose to do outright, but in the moment become carried away. How many people set out to get horribly burned? One sure way to avoid it, is never to light the flame to begin with.

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