Fire Next To His Chest
Proverbs 6:27-28 (ESV) – Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?
When I was a child, I burned my sweater on a candle. I caught fire at a Christmas Eve gathering at my grandmother’s house. The candle was lit, and I reached over the table to grab something, and my sweater started burning. My chest felt the heat and sting of the fire. People started yelling as I panicked. They patted me down. The sweater was ruined, and my skin burned, but I was okay. But when it comes to sin in our lives, we can burn our lives and create irreparable damage to relationships, our reputations, and our souls.
Our passage today helps us to see this truth. We read in the proverb, “Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?”
What is the proverb talking about? The idea is that in the same way carrying fire next to your chest will burn your clothes, walking too closely to sin can ruin your life. If you flirt with temptation, you will get burned. The proverb is providing us wisdom about making wise decisions and recognizing what leads to sin.
Running around with the wrong crowd will eventually bring trouble. Drinking alcohol every evening by yourself might eventually bring a drinking problem. In other words, negative outcomes regularly follow predictable situations. But for some reason we don’t always see that clearly in the moment.
What are these areas for you? Are you flirting with sin? Is there a relationship with a co-worker that is bordering dangerous territory? Are there habits developing in your life that lead to outcomes that hurt you and others? Heed the wisdom of this proverb today. We cannot live close to sin and think we can remain unstained from its effects. It is like a black hole. It sucks everything into its orbit. Don’t walk with fire next to your chest or walk on hot coals and not expect to burn your clothes or feet.
See your actions for what they are and ask God to give you the wisdom you need to see the cause and effect of your thoughts, words, and deeds so you can walk in holiness and obedience to the Lord.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does the writer of the proverb use this imagery to discuss temptation and sin?
- What is the lesson for us today as we read this passage?
- How have you seen this passage played out in your life or in the lives of people around you?
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