“Mom, I had my death picture taken today,” my firefighter son Eli told me over the phone.
“What? Your what!” I asked, not believing what I’d just heard.
“My death picture. That’s what the guys call it. We have our picture taken in front of the flag wearing our dress uniform. If we die in the line of duty, that’s the picture they put on my casket and use in the media.”
First responders run toward danger and smoke when everyone else is running out. As a firefighter in a big city, Eli is aware of the danger but executes his job courageously, having been thoroughly trained for every conceivable contingency. Even the photos we see of fallen heroes are part of their training.
We face imminent danger every day, too. Not necessarily from a building or car fire, but against hellfire. We have an enemy who comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). His goal is to kill our relationships (especially our relationship with God), steal our joy, and destroy our future.
Training to be a first responder takes determination and dedication to a cause bigger than oneself. If first responders get sloppy, people die. That’s why the drills and the training exercises never stop.
We need to stay on top of our training regimen too. Hellfire is real. We need to be prepared because lives depend on us to give spiritual CPR to a soul who is withering, douse destructive embers of gossip or anger with Living Water, bring hope to souls lost in the smoke of a firestorm of deceit.
When training lapses.
A gradual descent of spiritual complacency is as dangerous as an out-of-shape firefighter. When life gets busy, too often our Bible study, prayer life, and church attendance are the first to go.
Our training exercises (or disciplines) are to read our Bible to discover the promises of God for our lives. To pray to hear God’s voice and know his heart for us. To develop relationships with other believers so that when our proverbial house (or our actual house) is on fire, we are not alone to suffocate in the despair, the loss, the grief, or the hardship that is part of life.
How is your training going?
Girl, it’s time to get back into action. God is calling you to be a first responder! Are you ready and waiting to jump into action, or have you slipped into a quiet complacency of ease, hoping that you won’t be needed or that someone else will answer the call for help?
What can you do this Holy Week to ward off hellfire? Leave me a comment below.
Verse for today: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. —1 Peter 5:8
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the promise of an abundant life in you. Guide me in my training to hear from you, to serve you, and to help others. Make me fearless. Give me hope for a better future. Let me see the way out of a hard situation. Be with me. Amen.