THINKING THINGS THROUGH

One night, when I was attending summer camp we had a big bonfire. The next day, during free time, a friend and I walked past the place where the bonfire had been held. It was now a big pile of fluffy, soft, gray ashes. My friend said something like, “Wouldn't it be fun to jump in the middle of that pile?” Being characteristically cautious, I said, “No, won't we get in trouble? Won't we get dirty? Won't we get caught?” He said, “Naaah! We'll jump in the swimming pool afterwards and no one will know the difference?” I said, “I’m not doing it.” He said to me, “You big wimp!” Then he quickly began taking off his shoes. He raced barefoot into the pile. What couldn't be seen underneath the top layer of gray ash were the embers still burning from the night before. They couldn't be seen, but they could be felt. My friend wasn't prepared for the effect the red hot coals would have on his tender feet. He started yelling and jumping up and down, trying to get out of the ashes as fast he could. Watching his impromptu rain dance from the edge of the pile of ashes I was thankful that I wimped out. It kept me from harm.

At the nurse's station the question my friend was asked again and again was, “What possessed you to jump into a pile of burning embers?” The only answer he could come up with was something along the lines of “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” The truth, of course, was that he didn't think about what he was doing. He made an impulsive, split-second decision without considering the consequences.

We do a lot of things in life that seem like a good idea at the time. Maybe it appears to be the easiest thing to do, or the most exciting thing to do, or the most expedient thing to do, but we make these spur-of-the-moment decisions without thinking them through, and inevitably, we end up getting burned. Solomon warned of the consequences of impulsive decisions when he said, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without being scorched?” (Proverbs 6:27-28)

Solomon’s wisdom words were speaking specifically about sexual sin, but the principle applies to every foolish choice you and I make. You and I can't make emotional, impulsive decisions based solely upon surface-level appearances without getting burned.

Maybe this is where you find yourself right now. Maybe you've gotten into a relationship that has disaster written all over it. Maybe you've taken a job that is forcing you to compromise your faith. Maybe you're pursuing dreams that can only turn into nightmares. And you're in this position because you took a running leap before thinking things through. If that is the case, there are only two things you can do.

One, ask God to help you get out of the fire as fast as possible before you get burned any further.

Two, decide quickly never to decide quickly again. Take your time before making a decision.

The best decisions you will ever make are the ones that you’ve made slowly, prayerfully, and with much advice. The longer it takes you to make a major decision, the more likely you are to discover God's will in the matter. And along the way in this process you will learn that God is merciful enough to pull you out of the fire of dumb decisions. You will realize and learn that life works much better when you allow God to direct your steps away from the burning coals.

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