CAN a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?” Solomon asked these questions thousands of years ago and mankind is still trying to get just as close to sin as possible thinking they can escape the flames of the fire that has burned all their predecessors.

We are reminded of the story of the rich man who was interviewing prospective chauffeurs and asked each one how close they could drive to the edge of the precipice without going over. Each applicant tried to out-do the others by telling how close they could get, except one man who said he wouldn’t go anywhere near the edge. This was the man that got the job.

We, too, are steering a course through life and the narrow winding road has many steep precipices. Just how close to the edge do we want to get? At the start of our journey towards the kingdom sin is something that is very appealing to us, something we would love to do but mustn’t. As we grow closer to God and our love for Christ waxes hotter, sin becomes more and more abhorrent until finally to sin against God becomes something we would hate to do. Now we don’t get from one place to the other overnight, but we shall never get there as long as we ride the edge of the road.

Just how do we get from the place where sin has strong appeal to the place where it does not? The answer lies in the way we think. If we think pure thoughts, it follows that our actions will be above reproach. If we allow our minds to wander over to the edge, it’s only a matter of time until it falls over the precipice pulling us down with it.

The closer we stay to God the further we stay away from the edge and the hot coals. When we begin to rely upon our own strength and think we can go it alone without the help of our Lord, we are beginning to get into dangerous territory. Certainly, Solomon was a strong wise king who had been abundantly blessed by God and as long as he relied upon God he was able to make wise decisions. When he married outlandish women he soon began to think like they did, he got too close to the edge, and before he knew it he was worshipping the gods of his wives, instead of the true and living God who had appeared to him.

We have not had the advantage of God personally appearing to us, but we do have the same advantages as all the faithful of all ages, in that we can take all our affairs to God in prayer knowing He hears us. We also have in our hands God’s complete revelation (our Bibles), which many who lived earlier did not have. We have all the help we need to stay away from the edge and clear of the hot coals but we also have a free will and if we, like Solomon, insist on trying to take fire into our bosom or tread the hot coals, we can expect the same burns that struck Solomon down.

Let none of us think we can succeed in reaching the Kingdom unscathed, if we are flirting with the world in any way, our love for God should make us abhor the evil that is in the world around us and, if we still find it appealing, at least let us have sense enough to turn our back upon it, rather than snuggle up close and try to justify being on the edge.

Let us try a little game of mental gymnastics. Pick something in the world that truly attracts us but we would be better off without. Make it a matter of prayer, asking God’s help in overcoming our desire for it. Concentrate upon the things of God and stay clear away from it, and soon we will be in for an experience which will seem like a personal miracle. Before we know it, the attraction will be gone! God’s hand is as ready to help us today as it ever was. Try it and see