“Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? Or can one walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?” (Prov. 6:27-28). These are two of the lesser-known verses in the Bible, but ones that bear a message well worth learning. I don’t think that I am wrong to conclude that most of the world does that, but more concerningly, even many Christians. Saying that you are carrying something next to your chest is illustrative of somehow trying to protect it or that it is near and dear to you. Often, man has sin so dear to him that he carries it near his heart. The problem with that is that not only can our clothes be burned, but we can be as well. Let me explain it to you using a personal example that happened to me when I was a young, 25-year-old man.
My dad and I owned a trucking company, and I was cleaning truck parts in gasoline. At the time, I was a cigarette smoker. At some point during the morning, I wanted to do what so many smokers do several times during the day – take a break for a “smoke.” I withdrew my hands from the container and started walking away from it. I knew the dangers of a naked flame near fuel, so I wanted to enjoy the cigarette a distance away, but habit is a hard thing to break. I had barely turned when I placed a cigarette in my mouth and struck a match. The open flame did not set the large container with the fuel in it on fire, but it did catch the residual gasoline on my hand on fire. I immediately panicked and instinctively hit that hand with the other one. Of course, that did not extinguish the flame but rather caused my other hand to catch fire as well.
Thankfully I saw an extinguisher near me and put out the flame, but I will never forget the fear I felt in those few seconds. The habit I had kept close to my chest could have caused me great pain and may even have cost me my life that fateful day. Not because of that incident, but I eventually quit smoking cigarettes and thus eliminated the risk of making that kind of mistake again. The second verse refers to someone scorching their feet by walking on hot coals. The person either intentionally tries to do that or accidentally walks onto coals because they were not paying attention; much like the time, I set myself on fire. When we walk in the world and all its sin, intentionally or because we are not vigilant to the dangers around us, we will be burned, so to speak. It is impossible to walk on the coals of worldliness and not scorch your feet. It is far safer to remove that habit from your life and thus eliminate the chances of being hurt.
If you find yourself on fire, figuratively speaking, reach for the spiritual extinguisher, repentance, and put out the flames before you are permanently scarred or even lose your life.