Catching Fire

Catching FireWhen you were a little kid, did you ever try to light something on fire using a magnifying glass? Did you love sitting around a campfire? Or dream about the day when you’d be old enough to light the fireworks yourself? It seems there’s something in all of us that is fascinated by the power of fire. But along with that power comes a lot of responsibility. Depending on how it is used, fire has the power to make our lives better or to destroy everything we care about. But flames aren’t the only things with that kind of power. The Bible teaches that our words, our comments, and our conversations, can have a lot in common with fire. We’ve all seen how words used recklessly can quickly get out of control and leave everything a charred mess. But imagine what would be possible if we began using the power in our words for something good and beautiful instead? What if instead of using our words to destroy, we used them to build something amazing?

Session One: Out Of Control

January 14
Bottom Line: Words have the force to set your life on a course.

Have you ever seen a fire get out of control? It can be really scary. One minute you’re enjoying the smell of a candle. The next, you’re watching flames climb the drapes. One second you’re lighting a tiny campfire in your backyard. The next, you’re explaining to your dad why all the grass is gone. While the initial spark always seems small and weak, a careless mishap can catch fire and spread faster than we ever imagined. In the New Testament, James, Jesus’ brother, teaches that our conversations work the same way. Words that seem minor and insignificant to us can spread like wildfire, doing more damage than we ever intended and taking our lives in a direction we never meant to go. But James gives us insight on how to take control of the words we speak and determine whether we use our speech to cause harm or to do good.

Session Two: Sweeter Than Honey

January 21
Bottom Line: Words help heal.

You can’t beat a good fireworks show. One little spark, one little match, and the whole sky lights up. When you look at the tiny boxes fireworks come in, it’s hard to imagine what they can become and how little a spark it takes to make them explode into something mind-blowing. Our words work that way too. We can’t always see the power of a single compliment. And, let’s be honest, sometimes saying nice things can feel awkward. But as we take a closer look at a Proverb from King Solomon—a man known for his wisdom— we see that those positive words may be one of the most powerful tools we have—in the lives of others and in our own lives. Just as careless words have the power to destroy, words well spoken have the power to heal.

Session Three: Controlled Burn

January 28
Bottom Line: When you forgive, it helps you live.

Many of us know the power of words all too well. Words someone said (or didn’t say) to us have left us angry and bitter and our hearts are still a little charred. Sure, it’s important to be careful with the words you control, but what do you do when you’re the one who has been hurt? The Apostle Paul knew that part of having relationships with others is the possibility of getting burned. In his letter to the church as Ephesus, he reminds us that there is only one way to move past hurt and begin to really live. It won’t come naturally, but if we’re willing to do the hard work of forgiving, we just may find that we’re healthier and happier, after the fire, than we ever were before.