Preaching Magazine Illustrations

In his July 27 Turning Points Daily Devotional, David Jeremiah writes: “Miami lawyer Stephen Gutierrez was defending a client accused of arson. As he made his closing arguments, he made a quick exit as his pants caught fire. The culprit was an e-cigarette battery, which ignited at the worst possible moment. Gutierrez was unharmed, but his client was convicted.

Allowing a bad habit to reside in the pockets of your mind or heart is dangerous, for you never know when it will ignite in shame, harmful consequences, or judgment. The apostle James warns about this twice. James 3:6 says, “The tongue is a fire.” When we allow the wrong words to slip into our conversation, it can burn up our testimonies. James later also warns against the selfish accumulation of wealth, saying, “Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will … eat your flesh like fire” (James 5:3).

Likewise, Proverbs 6:27 describes sexual immorality as taking fire into our laps, hoping not to be burned. Wrong words, covetousness, and sexual sin—these and other hidden sins—will come back to burn us. If you’re tolerating anything in your life that could flare up into sin, confess it to God. Don’t let Satan fan temptation into a flame.”