There's something about that word that makes a person's heart start racing. We all know what fire is capable of doing--
to houses. to barns. to forests. to people...
...and for us farmers, we know well what fire can do to a combine. In a matter of minutes.
This is NOT our combine, praise the Lord! But I found this picture on the internet so y'all could get the idea. There are a lot of things that can cause a combine fire, and once it starts, there is so much that can burn. Dry grain, lots of chaff and dust, rubber, plastic, not to mention over 200 gallons of diesel fuel. Once a fire starts, there's no way of knowing how fast it will take off, or how far it'll go. That's why we always keep a fire extinguisher in the cab.
So, it was about 11:20 at night. Grandpa was driving combine, and I was in the grain cart. We were on our last field of soybeans, and so very close to being finished. If everything went smoothly, we would've been done in about an hour. I was at the other end of the field, and just starting to turn the tractor around when my phone rang. It was Dad.
"Hey, Grandpa needs your help, he's got a fire!"
Immediately, I began to feel my heart thumping somewhere up in my head as I kicked it into high gear and took off full throttle across the field. I could see an orange glow up by the hopper, and Grandpa was already climbing up into the back end with the fire extinguisher. I jumped out of the tractor, raced to the combine, and had barely gotten to the top of the ladder when Grandpa said,
"We've gotta call 911! This fire extinguisher is empty!"
What a helpless feeling. We were out in the middle of the field, three miles away from home, with a combine fire and our hands seemingly tied behind our backs. It wasn't a big fire, but that didn't matter. It could turn into a big fire really quickly and we needed to do something right now. Out of breath, with heart pounding, I called 911 and very carefully explained what was going on and exactly where we were at. The guy on the other end very calmly replies, "Okay, we'll send someone out."
I could only hope that he was going to take this seriously, because by the tone of his voice, I wasn't too convinced.
Thankfully, this particular field was only about a mile away from the fire department, otherwise I don't want to know how long it would've taken them to get there. They arrived at last...with an ambulance. Seriously, are you kidding me? We have a fire here, people! By this time, Dad was there, my brother had come, and Greg, who was harvesting the field right next to us had also come to help. I ran out to the road to meet the guys in the ambulance, and they casually followed me back to the combine with their fire extinguisher. They obviously weren't in any hurry, and we were getting a little frustrated.
Like I said, it wasn't a big fire, but it's still a fire, and it certainly won't put itself out. A fire truck and several other emergency vehicles arrived over the next 10 or 15 minutes, but by that time, Dad, Derek and Greg had it under control with the fire extinguisher. When it was all said and done, there was a lot of melted wiring and a couple of parts that needed to be replaced, but nothing major. Praise the Lord that it wasn't any worse than that.
Now, for an application:
You and me, we're the combine, and there's a fire burning inside that could destroy us. If it doesn't get put out, we won't be able to accomplish the work that we're called to do, and we could very well end up a pile of twisted metal and melted rubber. It's the problem of sin. It's no stranger to us as believers. It's constantly there, trying to bring us down and make us weak, ineffective Christians who blend in with the rest of society. We all deal with it, but how do we deal with it? What are we doing about the fire inside of us? Have we become so deadened to sin that we don't think it's a big deal? Do we excuse it away because it's "just a little fire"?
Let's not get so mesmerized by the glow, and the crackle, and the warmth, that we forget how dangerous it is, and how much God hates it. And let's not try to justify the mess we're in because it's not a "big deal". You never know how quickly it will spin out of your control. Face it, you can have everything together on the outside, but you know what's going on in your heart and in your mind. There's a fire burning. I've walked many miles down that road. I know.
So again, I ask, what are we doing about it? What am I doing about the sin that is so real in me?
We find it way too easy to think lightly of sin. Or maybe it's our Savior that we think so lightly of. Like salvation is some kind of fire insurance. Combine catches on fire and we just roast marshmallows and watch it burn. Why not, it's all paid for, right?
But Christ did not give His life so that we could be justified IN our sin. He died so that we could be redeemed OUT of it.
Have victory OVER it.
And we don't do battle against the flesh in hopes of being delivered from the bondage of sin. We fight because we have been delivered, we are new, and we will not let the old man of corruption rule over us.
There's a war raging. Always a battle to fight. Let's not just stand around. Let's fight it...like a man! :) We've been given everything that we need in order to have victory. It's right in front of us...no, He's living inside of us. In Christ, we are more than conquerors. So what's holding us back?
God has given us the tools, the armor, and the strength.
Let's fight the fire.
"Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul."
-II Peter 2:11
-II Peter 2:11