Firefighting is no easy assignment! Years ago, while in ministry at Thornloe Crossroads Baptist Church, our phone rang with the message, “Wilbert’s barn is on fire!” I dropped everything and took off to a barn ablaze as a result of a lightning strike. The fire department (volunteer) was just arriving and I was able to give them a hand for a few hours. It was exciting, dangerous but necessary work resulting in the loss of the barn, but the saving of surrounding buildings.
Spiritual firefighting is a calling resting on the shoulders of believers who care enough to “do something” while the lives of others are ablaze with sin.
Consider this admonition by Jude (v.22-23)
“Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.”
Doubters need to be shown mercy. Even in the presence of the resurrected Christ, some doubted. Matthew 28:17 records this account – “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.” Or consider Thomas, who missed the meeting with Christ (it doesn’t pay to miss gatherings of believers), and professed doubt which Jesus called him to face. (John 20)
Blazing “sinners,” those caught in the flames of their own evil desires are to be rescued. “Snatch others from the fire” sounds like dangerous work! Ask a firefighter what it’s like to enter a burning building. Searching for a child, a teenager, or adult who has been overcome with smoke inhalation and safely bringing them to the outside is not for the faint of heart.
I thought of this passage last evening as a dear brother in Christ, following our evening service, updated me on the spiritually dangerous condition of his son. His son, who has been “rescued” on previous occasions is “playing with fire again.” We prayed together and I’m seeking God’s guidance regarding another intervention. I can’t simply pretend I don’t see the flames. I want to show mercy, mixed with fear but like Jude warns I must “hate” the impact of a nature corrupted by evil desires. Without naming names, something I will not do on this blog, or on Social Media at this point, would you join me in praying for three young men who need rescue. I doubt they realize the serious danger they are in as they continue to follow the impulses of their sinful nature. I’m asking God for the enabling power of His Holy Spirit as I take up the task of spiritual firefighting!