Have you ever touched a hot stove and burnt yourself? This well-known trope is often used to describe a learning process. When someone, usually a child, touches a hot stove they are burnt and learn not to touch the stove. If you’ve lived for any amount of time then there are probably many “hot stoves” in your life that you know not to touch again. It’s one way that we learn, from our mistakes. At least, we hope to learn from our mistakes, don’t we?

We might consider it silly to keep touching hot stoves when we know what’s going to happen, but we do. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has made some of the same mistakes in his life. I’ve heard it said that we go through the same trials in our lives because we haven’t learned what we need to learn from them. I wonder if that’s true. I’m sure there’s some truth in the idea that we’ll keep doing the same thing over and over again until we learn that it’s not good for us, but why do we continue in destructive behavior?

Have you ever put something into the oven to heat it up? I really like pizza and when I heat up leftovers I prefer, when there’s time, to not use the microwave because the pizza comes out kinda soggy. Therefore, I’ll turn on the oven, put the pizza in a pan, and heat it up. Usually around 400 degrees or so. Now, when I take that pan out of the oven I use an oven mitt. However, I’ll turn around and pick up the hot pizza with my bare hands usually saying, “Hot! Hot! Hot!” or something to that effect. Does that seem wise? I know that the pizza’s hot. I know that I can get burned if I’m not careful, but I do it anyway. Hmmm. I think that we might be on to something.

When I take that pizza out of the oven with my bare hands and I don’t get burnt that means I only feel a moment’s worth of pain by handling it. It’s the time we have to deal with the burn that’s an issue, right? Not those few seconds of momentary discomfort while we’re handling it. I suppose when I’m taking it out of the oven I’m doing a quick risk/reward assessment in my head. Might it be possible that I’m willing to “suffer” through some pain to get what I want? Is this where “no pain, no gain” comes from?

Both of the apostles, James and Paul, talk about the benefits of persevering through suffering (Romans 5:3-5, James 1:2-4). However, I don’t think they were talking about suffering because of things that we bring upon ourselves. Peter reminds us, “it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17 NIV). I’m certain that none of the apostles were thinking about those who suffer because of the things that they’ve brought upon themselves.

Since I’m on this topic I want to look at this verse from Ezekiel.

“Son of man, the Israelites are saying, ‘The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future.'”

Ezekiel 12:27 (NIV)

This is what I think we do. In a way, isn’t the burn from touching that hot stove a “prophecy” of what’s going to happen? I’m not talking about the prophecies of men but those of God. The Lord tells us in Isaiah, “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11 NIV). We know that Isaiah was a prophet before Ezekiel who prophesied to the people their destruction if they didn’t mend their ways. However, they didn’t listen to him nor any of the other prophets. Why is that? Why did God have to tell Ezekiel to tell the people that He was going to do what He said right away?

Because of His mercy. In the time of Hezekiah, the people were told what was going to happen to them. However, God had mercy on Hezekiah, and what was his response? “’Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?’” (2 Kings 20:19 NIV) Isn’t that a typical response? We see it from our generation and from those that came before us and how we treat our environment. We dump trash into the oceans and pollute our world thinking, “This is fine.” This mentality of doing what feels good right now is why we get addicted to drugs, sex, and bad choices. We do what we want to do right now and don’t consider our future. We don’t consider God’s mercy.

We know the “wages of sin is death” but we sin anyway. We do it because it feels good. Otherwise, we wouldn’t do it. It’s like temptation. You can’t be tempted by something you’re not interested in. It wouldn’t be called “temptation.” When we were in the world we lived as the world lives, without thinking about the eternal consequences of our actions. We know that Jesus paid the price for our sin and we shouldn’t forget it. We sinned and there was death, His. However, there’s still lots of death that comes from our sin. We see it every day. We feel it when we suffer negative consequences. Let us not think that the thing we did yesterday, a week ago or even years ago, isn’t going to have consequences. If we don’t see them today then that’s because of God’s mercy upon us. It is new every day (Isaiah 43:19).

However, we will be called to answer for what we have done. I know what I’m going to tell God when I am before Him. Jesus died for my sin. I hope that I tell Him this with confidence. I do wonder though, what His response might be to all of the sins that I have deliberately done since I’ve known Jesus.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.