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  • Melinda K. Bowens

So, what if I...stopped playing with fire?

So, what if I…stopped playing with fire?

“See, you don’t believe fire burns!” –My Mama

Actually, that was said by mama, your mama, their mamas, and the ancestral mama since the beginning of time. Somewhere in the history of life nearly everyone has heard this phrase or a variation of this phrase; usually right before or right after we did something that was going to come back as a not so favorable decision.

But I started to wonder, as I do about so many things that prompt these posts, why fire? Why was fire the settled upon element to teach this lesson? Why not, “you don’t believe water drowns?” Or, “you don’t believe wind blows?” Now, I’m guessing those options weren’t chosen because they kinda suck. However, the point I was trying to make is, what is so special about fire?! Then it hit me, fire always alters what it is near.


Think about it. Whether it is a controlled fire or a wildfire, something ends up forever changed. Whether a candle is burning for relaxation after a long day or a forest is burning after the forgetfulness of a camper, whatever the fire touches is changed forever. Fire is always fire, but what it touches is never the same.

I don’t know if all of our mothers thought about this when they wanted us to stop misbehaving, but they were certainly on to something.

Now, trying to stick our hand in actual fire is something most of us have never tried or have grown out of in life. But something we all do, even as adults, is stay around those things that burn us in life. And often, these things don’t just burn us once; they burn us over and over (and over and over and over) again. But if we know that literal fire will burn us and it’s painful, why do we continue to run directly into the figurative fire? (Remember this question)


Our fire is any thing, any place, or any person that we cling to knowing we walk away a little more scorched each time.

The “fire” in our lives is different for each person. For some of us, we are perpetually in the same relationship (or situationship), but with different people. Whether it takes a day to notice or a year, there seems to be a familiar thread each time. For others that fire is a place. If we could just stay away from certain locations, we know our lives would be so much better. Honestly, our fire is any thing, any place, or any person that we cling to knowing we walk away a little more scorched each time.

I ask again, why do we keep willingly walking back into the fire and then hurt so much when it burns? I have a few answers. These are not feel good answers by any means, but being burned repeatedly doesn’t feel good either, sooooooo here we go:

  1. We like the way it feels. We may not always like the end result, but there is something about the fire that it almost soothing, even though it is ultimately destructive.

  2. The fire matches a desire in our heart that we don’t want to share with others. Please don’t fight me, but this is true. Think about it. Everything we live out, good or bad, is a reflection of what lives in our hearts. We wouldn’t be tempted to move towards the fire, if the desire wasn’t already in our hearts.

  3. The fire seems safer than the alternative. We know the fire isn’t healthy, it burns and it hurts. But somehow we believe that being burned sometimes is better than being without all the time.


There are other specific reasons we continue to run back into the same fire over and over again, but these are three big general reasons. These reasons are the oxygen that keep the fires (yea I added an “s” because we often have more than one) burning strongly in our lives.

Oxygen deprivation is the only way to kill a fire.

Oxygen deprivation is the only way to kill a fire. So, we have to ask ourselves (honestly), what continues to provide oxygen to our personal fires? Who is that person, where is that place, what is that thing that keeps fanning the flames? When we identify the source, we must cut it off if we want the fires to cease.


Question of the Day:

What would life be like if you stopped playing with fire?

Encouraging Verses:

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.

James 1:14 NLT

Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.

1 Corinthians 10:13 GNT

And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

Matthew 6:13 NLT

Run from temptations that capture young people. Always do the right thing. Be faithful, loving, and easy to get along with. Worship with people whose hearts are pure.

2 Timothy 2:22 CEV

Don't fool yourselves. Bad friends will destroy you.

1 Corinthians 15:33 CEV

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