thatmom

real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

the messages in fireproof

A couple weeks ago, our family went to see Fireproof, the new release from the Kendrix brothers who produced Facing the Giants. While I am the first to applaud Christians seeking to have a cultural influence in the arts, I was a little apprehensive about this film and feared that the “cheese” factor might make for a disappointing evening.  In fact, the opposite was true and there were moments during the showing that I was so caught up in the pain and frustration of the characters that I felt like I was part of their lives in a most uncomfortable way and I forgot I was actually watching a movie.

But beyond the wonderful story of God’s redemption of a man and of his marriage, there were more subtle messages that ought to be taken to heart by those of us who seek to live lives that glorify God and bring us into the enjoyment of Him.

First of all, this movie showed the consequences, for good and for bad, of applying the Bibilcal principle that those who walk with the wise will become wise but that a companion of fools will be destroyed.  As the story unfolds, this truth stands out for all of us to witness.  Those characters who seek counsel from those who trust in the wisdom of the Bible for instruction have the correct answers for the struggling couple.  And those who rely on man’s ways are used to destroy this marriage one bad piece of advice at a time. 

Having spent several years counseling in a CPC, both with women in crisis pregnancies and in various stages of post abortion trauma, I know that input from friends and family members can have a profound impact on those who are emotionally and spiritually struggling in very personal ways. I learned early on to ask counselees to sign a commitment that they would not seek other counsel during the time we were working through their problems because many times I had seen any progress we had made totally destroyed by sometime else in between sessions, whether it was a family member, a well-meaning friend at church, or an episode of Oprah that week.

Secondly, the consequences of pursuing the pleasures of life outside of Christ was central to the theme of this film but the folly of seeking after personal fulfillment is a lesson for those who profess Jesus as well.  As I was thinking about how easily believers fall into the trap of investing everythng they own into their earthly lives, I came across this passage of Scripture in my Bible reading this morning.  Psalm 77 talks about the rebellion of the children of Israel but the truths could easily be applied to all of us.  In talking about the many things the Lord did to preserve them, it says “In spite of this, they still sinned, and did not believe in His wondrous works.  Therefore their days He consumed in futility and their years in fear.”

How often we are willing to ignore the many wonderful things that God is doing in our lives, His provision for us, the miracle He performs in giving us the gift of children, the truth that every breath we take is a gift from His gracious hand.  Yet, because of our ungratefulness, God often allows us to wallow in our own vanity, pursuing the things we want but bringing a leanness to our own souls.  And what does the Psalmist tell us is the final result?  Years spent in fear, fear of losing our children to the very culture we have embraced, fear of a broken relationship with our husbands or other brothers and sisters in Christ, even fear of eternity.

Fireproof allowed us to hear from those who had made those choices and to watch as even a Christian struggled to overcome, through God’s grace, the desires for things of this world.  Rather than picturing for us some tidy life after a sinner confesses his need for a Savior, Fireproof portrayed the truth all Christians must learn….we must do spiritual battle daily through the power of the Holy Spirit and if we do not, all is, as Solomon said, vanity.

Finally,  I think the most powerful lesson for us from this film is the truth that husbands and wives are both responsible for their marriages and when there is trouble, the commitment of one person, whether it is the man or the woman, can make the difference between saving a marriage or allowing it to dissolve.  I would imagine that the patriocentrists were gnashing their teeth over this one and I doubt that the San Antonio Film Festival will be interested in handing out awards to this group this time around.  Kirk Cameron’s Caleb demanded “respect” from his wife and patriocentric wisdom would say “amen” and quickly suggest that if the distraught wife were to quit her job, have a house full of babies, and homeschool them, submitting to her husband’s every demand, acknowledging him as prophet, priest, and king, all would be right with the world.  They would quickly proclaim that a feminist agenda was at the root of her bitterness and hatred of her husband and that fighting against feminism, white-washed or otherwise, would bring about less scenarios like we see in Fireproof.

But this film goes beyond the paradigm that too many have built to prop up marriages that are in trouble and, instead, went straight to the truth of Scripture…we are to one another each other in a marriage, being willing to go the extra mile, serving and loving and setting aside ourselves for the other person.  By following Christ’s example, whether we are men or women, we reflect the calling God had placed on all believers, to pour out ourselves as Christ did for us.

I highly recommend this film.  Each Kendrix brothers effort surpasses the last and I look for so many more great lessons for all of us from this creative and wise team.

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10 Comments»

  Susan T wrote @

Another excellent post Karen! Thank you.

I’ve had similar thoughts in pondering Fireproof and have been trying to explain it to others, but you said it so much better than I could. It is a very powerful movie.

  Brian wrote @

I agree good film. Limitations in actin and choices by the directors lead to some mild flaws, but good show. I wrote more on my blog.

Brian

  Brian wrote @

PS I forgot to say we homeschooled are three as well.

  Brian wrote @

OUR three
(Oh brother)
The wife did most of the teaching.

  thatmom wrote @

Thanks for the laugh today, Brian!

  thatmom wrote @

I just received an ad in my e-mail from the Vision Forum film festval people announcing their speakers this year and they do have the Fireproof people on their list. Anyone have any ideas why this is?

  thatmom wrote @

Susan, another thing I thought of as I watched the film is how much we tend to take fireman and their families for granted. Just an extra thank-you to them today!

  Cindy K wrote @

I just received an ad in my e-mail from the Vision Forum film festval people announcing their speakers this year and they do have the Fireproof people on their list. Anyone have any ideas why this is?

Maybe it’s the next step into moving into and “taking dominion” in broader markets in their quest to proselytize other Christians. This is how they take over churches — they can hitch their wagons to someone else’s rising star. I understand that the film is doing very well, so by featuring it at their film festival, it will be lending a great deal of credibility to the festival and to Vision Forum itself. Remember, it’s all about appearance and comparison with these folks. It may all just be a marketing ploy. I believe that much the same is true of throwing accolades at Ken Ham. Hitch your wagon to the rising star and get your name out there so more people can have cause to google you and see photos of your lovely family.

I’m curious. I thought it was interesting that some months ago, Vision Forum posted photos of Doug Phillips meeting with Ben Stein after “Expelled” was released. Did the info you received say anything about honoring “Expelled?”

Maybe Doug and Vlad Botkin want to be the Christian version of Robert Redford and have the Christian version of Sundance. As much as these guys go on about waging war against the culture, why is it that the patriocentrists seem to have their own alternative version of the same things that are found in postmodern secular culture? Hmmm.

  thatmom wrote @

Cindy, the e-mail did mention Expelled and the lawsuit they are embroiled in with Yoko Ono.

Great insights, as usual.

  Cindy K wrote @

Karen,

Great minds think alike. You actually observed quite a bit of that.

Hollywood (Disney) has Brittany Spears and Hanna Montana.

DP has the Botkin girls.

Hollywood has the fecundant Angelina Jolie.
(proof that no secular people love children)

DP has the fecundant Kelly Bradrick.


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