The moment has finally arrived. The Captain is off today and the senior firefighter is off. It is time for the firefighter to serve as the Acting Officer. This moment didn’t come by chance. It is a culmination of training, years of service, and daily dedication to the job. Then it happens:
“A House Fire, reported occupants entrapped, at 123 Anywhere Street.” Dispatch to all responding units “We are upgrading this as we are receiving multiple calls.”
The firefighter takes a breath and begins the journey to the call.
In life, we are all preparing for something. It may be a job, a relationship, or a new role. Each moment is brought about by the individual making a conscious decision to move in that direction.
As firefighters, we spend numerous hours learning, applying, and mastering the basics as each skill set builds upon one another preparing us for the overall responsibilities of the job.
What about the point in our lives where we realize the next step for us is a relationship with Jesus Christ?
Many of us, including myself, have ran away or hid from the responsibilities that seem to be woven into our heart. Yet each of our goals in life have been a process of becoming or taking on this role. We were not born as a firefighter. We were not born as a Christian either.
“A man becomes a Christian; he is not borne one.” Tertullian
Each question that continues to repeat itself in your life can only be answered in God. How can this be? What does it mean to have a relationship with Jesus? Isn’t this all a bunch of hypocrites roaming around living false lives?
“In all the world is a stage and men and women are merely actors” Shakespeare.
As firefighters, we have all known the ones who come to work, do the minimum amount of work required, and seemed to be able to quote the policies that protect them rather than the performance that is needed to protect our citizens.
Does their lack of dedication, false sincerity, and mediocrity prevent you from being a passionate firefighter?
Does their lack of belief in what we believe make the calling of a firefighter any less true?
Each of us is born with a void to be filled with something more.
Each of us try to fill that void with financial security, pleasure, achievements, relationships with others, and on and on…
Yet each and every time we crest the hill of that “something” we are only temporarily satisfied. It leaves us longing for the next moment and we embrace the thought that “if only” then I will be happy.
“Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces.” Jeremiah 23:29
This is where you are the Firefighter serving as the Acting Officer. You have arrived at that pivotal moment where your words, your choices, and your actions will make the difference in someone else’s world.
What if the decisions you are about to make are for your life?
What if the symbolic house that is on fire with people trapped is your life with all of the cries of your heart longing to be answered?
Do you walk away? Absolutely not… You make the call.
This is how you can make the call:
Step 1: Find a quiet place. Close out all of the distractions pray. You may have never prayed before. It is OK, God knows your heart and if you speak the words, no matter how jumbled , God hears the intent behind your words. Eloquence is not a requirement to speak to God. All He requires is your willingness.
“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. I know in my heart that I am meant for something more. I now know what that the something more that I have been searching for is You. Please forgive me of my sins not because of anything I have done but because I believe in this:
Jesus took my place on a cross and was crucified and “that Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:12). Three days later he rose from the grave erasing the power of death. He has erased my past, given me the strength to handle my present, and my future is secured because of Him.
Step 2: Go and find another believer that you respect. Tell them that you have accepted Jesus in your heart and that you want to know what is next.
Step 3: As one who sought to become a firefighter you went through a process, received training, and then became able to help, serve, and teach others. The same model exists in your new Christian life. The first step is to locate a group of believers who can be your mentors. They can guide you along your journey. Just as in firefighting we need to valuable counsel of our senior firefighters to show us the way so it is in your Christian life.
Step 4: You have accepted Christ, found a group to help you, now it is time to find a church. This can be a difficult process but it is a necessary one. As in the fire service, we work together to accomplish our mission; so it is in your Christian life. Look for a church that teaches from the Bible, serves the community, and offers classes to instruct its members in God’s word.
Step 5: Letting go of the old and embracing the new. This is the most difficult part of any one who has accepted the call of Christ to be “a new creation.” How will my friends and family react if they don’t believe the way I do? What do I do when the old things I used to do now bother me and my friends don’t understand? How do I wrestle with all of this conflict inside of me to do the right thing when others continue to live any way that they choose?
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Any firefighter who has chosen to go beyond the call and train till they cannot get it wrong understands the opposition from the group that tries to slow or derail their train. As in the Christian life, we will face opposition, persecution, and ridicule for our beliefs. Don’t be surprised by it, expect it! Because God’s love makes us uncomfortable. It causes us to lash out in defense of ourselves as we try to justify our actions.
It is an interesting path that we will walk as we love others, encourage others, and serve them that we will be ridiculed, opposed, and persecuted for doing good. Remember, brotherhood is a biblical concept; God doesn’t want you to be alone. His word says “Where two or more are gathered I am there.” and He says “A three fold cord is not easily broken.”
That is why it is so important to have a strong group of Christian Mentors to counsel us, encourage us, and disciple us. Without the fellowship of our brothers and sisters we can become easily discouraged and give up.
If you have chosen to make the ultimate Fire Ground Decision, please email us. We would love to hear your story and provide support along the way.
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries