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A few weeks ago, I was watching a movie with my husband; the main character was a fireman. At one point in the film, the fireman’s girlfriend turns to him and asks, “What is it like being a fireman?”

He says to her, “I understand the fire. I know what it can do and what it can’t do. I know where I can go and where I can’t go. Most of the time when I find people trapped in the house, they are so afraid of the fire, they’d rather stay because they figure they are better off. At least they are not burning where they are. They can’t see the outside. They don’t know the freedom waiting just on the other side of the fire.”

Clearly moved by the explanation, the girlfriend asks, “So, what do you tell them?”

He replies, “I tell them that if they would trust me and do everything I tell them to do, I promise they will survive this.”

Many of us are afraid of the fires of our life: the tests we must pass, the crosses we’ve been called to bear, the suffering we must endure. There is freedom on the other side of these, but we’d rather stay where we are, spiritually stuck in the dark corners of our lives. We tell ourselves that it is safer here; at least we aren’t burning, right? The longer we postpone pain and discomfort, the better are lives should be. What many people do not understand about a fire is that the flames aren’t what kill most often; it’s the smoke. We are not burning; we are suffocating. We are drowning in a sea of never-ending to-do lists and micromanaging bosses, submerged beneath dance recitals and soccer games, buried under overtime and weekend jobs to pay for bills that won’t stop showing up. We merely exist, forfeiting a full and abundant life because we are afraid of the fire.  We have a hero who has come to save us. He knows our tribulations inside and out. He knows how to lead us to freedom. If we would just trust Him and do exactly as He has instructed, not only will we survive, but we will be granted life eternal.  Fear-stricken, we remain content in a known hell rather than have faith in an unknown heaven.

For years, the enemy had me fooled into thinking that if I would just find contentment in being a helper in the ministry, I would be safe from harm. I ran from the anointing on my life because I didn’t want to bring any unnecessary attention to myself or my family. I had believed the lie that I could escape unwarranted trouble and persecution by keeping busy in the church while ignoring the call of God on my life to go deeper and higher in Him. I was afraid of the fire. I was afraid that if I tried to do anything that would actually profit the Kingdom, I would pay for it with my life. The enemy whispered lies into my ear, “Destined to die young and tragically. It’s true. Your life will touch thousands, but you won’t be around to witness the impact. Don’t move. Don’t grow. Don’t believe. It’s safer that way.”  I was afraid of the fire.

What I did not completely believe is that my life is not my own. I was trying to hold on to an illusion.  I had been purchased. Ransomed!  And my hero, my knight in shining armor that rescued me, conquered death, Hell, and the grave a long, long time ago. Now that I have accepted the freedom granted to me, I can walk boldly forward echoing the words of Esther: “I will go to the King, and if I perish, I perish.” I will no longer be afraid of the fire.

What is your fire? What has the enemy used to keep you bound? Jesus wants to lead you through the fire and bring you to an expected end, your future. Trust Him and be obedient and you shall live and not die. This is His promise.