When was the last time you lost your cool or blew up at someone? Took your aggression out on the family dog because you knew he’d forgive you, forget it, and his tail would be wagging the next time you walked in the door. Vented like a blow dryer to the first person you saw? All sorts of situations can cause us to get all heated up into a frenzy and ultimately, loose our cool. My personal favorite goes back to a scene in Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase when he discovers he’s been enrolled in the Jelly of the Month Club instead of receiving a bonus like he has in years past. My apology for using two Christmas Vacation illustrations in a matter of days, but it is the Christmas season.
There are many different types of fire or heated scenarios that can affect your life. All cause change and transform the situation. Think of a molten fire that shapes and molds metals at will. Extreme heat and pressure turn coal into diamond. (all of us would rather receive a diamond than coal for Christmas) Passion fuels a vision, marriage or relationship, but just as easily can damage those things. Fire, in the form of a simple flame, can be a heat source that protects from the cold, but if unattended, can destroy material possessions or anything that resides in its path. With every positive in life, there is also a negative. Think of a magnet. Positioned one way, it pulls itself firmly to an item but when turned around will repel itself from its own kind. The same is true for heat, fire and passion. Alone, each has the potential for great good, but each can also do great harm.
What are the lessons from nature we learn, and how does it apply to us personally?
- The glowing heat from a hot molten fire poker can be used for the good in the hand of a silversmith. Metal can be molded and shape, horseshoes can be accurately designed for each individual horse. Slag and other impurities can be removed from silver to create a blemish free masterpiece. What are the negative sides of this process? Careless handling can cause irreparable damage to those involved in the process. Physically harming someone out of anger leaves irreparable damage, as well. Proverbs 15:18
- Extreme heat and intense pressure from within the earth are the environmental factors that turn coal into a beautiful diamond. Without them, the coal would remain hard and unchanged. What is the negative part of this process? It takes a long time…it’s not an overnight event. Dealing with issues in our lives that we don’t want to deal with can produce the same results. If we resist God working in our lives to make us more like Him, we can become hard and unchanged. He will apply whatever heat and pressure is necessary to transform us from coal into a beautiful treasure, made in His image. Whether it’s God working in our lives, disciplining us because of lack of obedience on our part or God allowing a person in our lives to build perseverance—we can rejoice that either way, we are becoming more like Christ in the process. Hebrews 12:10
- Passion. We can’t live with it but we can’t live without it, either. It’s the fuel that keeps the vision thriving. It’s the magic in a marriage that needs to be revitalized. It can also be the breaking point in a relationship that has a fissure. Be careful with your passions. Not everyone is passionate about the same things you are. In fact, your passion may be a touchy subject for someone else. I Peter 3:13 tells us to be sensitive talking about things you are passionate about at family gatherings. Not everyone is going to be as excited as you are about, let’s say, your favorite political candidate.
- Fire can be used to warm a room when it’s cold outside or can destroy a home when left unattended. Fire is used to burn underbrush fuel to prevent wildfires but if handled incorrectly, can set the entire forest aflame in a matter of minutes. The same way fire can destroy a forest our tongues can destroy a relationship. James 3:5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.
What is the bottom line when it comes to the heat in our lives? I don’t think it would be an understatement to say we need to handle with care. How you respond in each situation will affect those around you like a row of dominoes standing at attention just waiting to be nudged. Be the one to stand firm in your faith and not allow the heat and circumstances of the holidays knock you down.