In the day-to-day experiences of life, we have opportunities to learn to be like Jesus, to choose to be patient, to be considerate, to help others, to pray. On the job and in our homes, Jesus has something to say about what we do.
What about the trials and difficulties of life? We wish theyâ€™d go away, or even lessen, get turned down an notch. But Jesus never promised that. Instead, he promised us problems: “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).
God uses our circumstancesÂ as opportunities for us to learn. Even Jesus had his fair share, or perhaps he had even more!Â “Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). If even Jesus had to learn through suffering, we can expect it to be part of ourÂ lives, too.
We will experience problems in life whether or not we follow Jesus. Don’t believe for one second that by giving up on Jesus, or even not believing in him at all, that you will escape your problems. That’s a straight lie from the enemy. You see, Jesus promised that he would never leave us nor forsake us. And the enemy knows this. Once you have Jesus on your side, it’s not so easy to get rid of him. The same goes for the enemy as well. Believe it! The enemy will only turn up the heat when he knows Jesus has you! As a straight up Christian walking, crawling, or even perhaps running down that narrow path, that path will have thorns…a LOT of thorns, that will engage you, scratch you, even bite you. Those thorns will leave their eternal mark on you.
But you shouldn’t worry about those thorns..because they are the mark of the true believer! Just remember, if you are not counted worthy of the Kingdom of heaven, then you will not have to face those thorns in the first place!
The problems for the true believer come when they are not being ripped to pieces by the thorns. That just means they are no longer on the narrow path. Just because you have the armor of God on doesn’t mean you won’t experience bumps, bruises, burns, or even soreness during your trials. The only thing that armor is supposed to do is to prevent the enemies darts, or steel tipped arrows from piercing your hide. But remember, just like David, you have to prove your armor. That means putting it on every single day. And sometimes, when God sees fit, He will adjust the armor..making it stronger, heavier. That means that you have to work out your spiritual armor every day, at every battle! Yes! There will be times when your armor will fail you! It’s supposed to fail you.. but it will keep you safe! When it does fail you, simply put on another piece.Â But remember…it’s not the enemy that is in control of the heat! God himself will turn up the fire!
You think you’ve had enough? No! I don’t think so! I think it’s up to God to say when you’ve had enough! Just like the children of Israel, your outcry that it’s enough will only prolong your experience…so get used to it. Harden up! Stand your ground and don’t let up! Because you know the fire never will!!!!
Just remember whenÂ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fire…there was another man in there with them! And what happened to them? NOTHING! They came out of the fire knowing that when they went in their God would protect them!
Something else is to be learned from the account ofÂ Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Something we should never forget! And it’s so simple, that we DO forget! What is it that we are overlooking? What is it that we fail to see when we are in the fire??
Get ready ya’ll!!!!
WE ARE NEVER ALONE!
If you believe that you are God’s…that He holds you in the palm of your hands…then you need to realize that God is pretty big! And though it seems like it…you’re not the only one in the fire. There are countless of other Christians who are in there with you! YES! There are Christians out there who are standing up for Righteousness, Holiness, and Truth! You may not have found them, but you know they’re out there. You see their faces every day! His people fill His world!
They are in the fire with you…however, they could either have been there longer than you, or even come after you!
THERE IS A FOURTH MAN IN THE FIRE! And He represents all those who have gone in before you. He also represents those that will follow you!
Again, the point that I am trying to make is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It’s so easy to learn from the Bible about the many trials of those who chose to follow God! But what have youÂ learned?Â YOU ARE NOT ALONE! There are people out there who are physically out there proclaiming God’s word! Living for Him! There are saints all over the world who are beaten, persecuted, brought down, taken to court, humiliated, tortured, killed! THEYÂ ARE NOT ALONE!
There are governments all over the world with no love for the followers of Christ! Some of them actively have eyes and ears that search out and expose Christians…they come to theirÂ house, and take them and their family away…to separate places perhaps..and they torture them! They tell the head of the familyÂ that they will not only let themÂ go, but they will also set theirÂ family free! On one condition! They must renounce Christ!
BUT THERE IS A FOURTH MAN IN THE FIRE!
Our choice is not whether to be in the fire or not! As Christians, we are ALL in the fire together! But yet we all will not behave the same way at first! Some of us will melt away, only to be refined and hardened later. It’s up to the older generation to teach the younger generation to hold fast! An eagle that has been in battle does not look pretty. It may lack an eye, part of it’s skull perhaps…yes, it will definitely have battle scars. But it sits…perched on the highest pint of elevation possible! And when it ready…it leaps off into the air…only to soar higher…higher…higher still!
Are we as bold as an eagle? Do we long to soar? Well that takes experience! And just when we think we have enough, even more experience is required!
Remember this: God has no limits! He formed this planet..He separated the stars, the earth, and the seas! And when the angels thought He was done! God made us in His own image! And when He was done! God suffered! Oh how He suffered! He suffered the betrayal of His creation! He suffered the death of His Beloved Son!
And yet, God still wanted, and continues to yearn for, fellowship and communion with us!
Now I ask you….is being thrown into the increasing fire worth fellowship with God? Is the fact THERE IS A FOURTH MAN IN THE FIRE! worth fellowship with God?
We may not always understand, and perhaps we never will until it is revealed to us, why God allows people to suffer. We may not see any good in it, or any lesson to learn. But God assures us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). We may not know howâ€”we just have to trust him.
But be assured! You are never alone! You aren’t chosen to walk this path alone. Look around you…do you see those faces? Do you recognize them? These are your brothers and sisters..they are in the same fire with you! THEY ARE THEÂ FORTH MAN IN THE FIRE!
Whatever the trial, we can at least be assured of this: “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (verse 18). We can be confident, even in our trials, that God has something wonderful planned for us. Our trials are only temporary, but the glory will last forever!