Athlete, Firefighters Are Wanted
1 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
I have a friend who’s a young firefighter. And I have a nephew who’s aimed in that direction too. At a moment’s notice, each is willing to put himself in harm’s way and throw themselves into something ablaze, dangerous, out of control.
They’re not afraid to engage the heat, take the heat. They are full of physical and moral courage and a striking love of people and of life. I really like and respect them.
God sounds the alarm, warning us repeatedly throughout the Scriptures that life is full of spiritual fires, dangerous situations where people are at risk and need rescue.
And knowing we all tend to avoid the heat, He seeks to equip us to fight the fires of life. I’m so glad. This world needs more firefighters for sure.
As the epistle of 1 Timothy opens, the apostle Paul commands his young protege, Timothy, to put out some fires. They were burning up a major metropolitan city, Ephesus.
People there were being set on fire spiritually by new, destructive ideas on who are the good guys and bad guys, what makes people legit, and a new, special knowledge one needs to evaluate life. Sound at all familiar?
Paul then coaches Timothy how to fight these fires. This is the simple approach he gives:
CONSUMING LOVE: The only thing that should get us into the flames, keep us there, and get us out is a consuming love. When love is let loose, fires of conflict die.
Conflict doesn’t usually die based on fine arguments or sound theology. Selfless, sacrificial love poured out douses flames. Wildfires die when wild love lives.
PURE HEART: When fighting fires, there’s no room for mixed motives or self-righteousness. Having a pure heart means always being about extinguishing the fire, not about self-preservation, keeping advantage, or being right. A heart for others is a pure heart.
GOOD CONSCIENCE: This means no moral compromise or partisan politics get into the mix. No favoritism is allowed. Politics and compromise keep fires burning way more than we think. These flames must be suffocated.
Apply a good conscience to yourself before you fight the flames.
SINCERE FAITH: This kind of faith doesn’t try to control situations. It does its best and leaves the results to God. It doesn’t feel like it has to win the argument. It steps into the heat and trusts God to handle the flames.
Reflect: Are you a willing, loving firefighter for God and others? Is there a fire burning in you or around you that needs to be addressed? Will you bring a consuming love, pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith to the fires you see burning? (If you don’t, don’t expect the fire to go out.)
A prayer to consider: LORD, I know You’re looking for firefighters. I know You invite us to put out flames with You, for You, for others.
Help me to not fear the heat of conflict, to let love loose as I enter in, fighting the flames with a pure heart, good conscience and sincere faith. And help me to leave the results to You. Your scoreboard is all that really matters.
Thank You for showing me how and empowering me by Your Spirit. In the Name of the One who never could be beaten I pray. Amen.