Thursday, September 10, 2015

Jesus Sets Us Free, Even in our Fires

"He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (Daniel 3: 25)

When most of us first meditated on this verse, we learned about Jesus, "The Fourth Man in the fire", who protected Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego from the flames, then delivered them without hurt from the fire.

When I reread this verse, I notice the word "loose."

The three Hebrew children were cast into a fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than normal, and so hot that the guards who threw them in were killed.

Yet in spite of the Babylonian king's urgent demand for the boys' death, the three faithful were walking free in the fire.

What can we learn from this wonderful account of God's grace?

We see that in the midst of our greatest trials, or fires, that His grace is more than enough:

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12: 9)

and also

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4: 13)

While hard times may come upon us, we should never look at them as evidence that God is unhappy or angry with us:

"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28: 20)

and then

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8: 1)

and finally

So, why does God permit us to endure these heated trials in our lives? That we may see how much more we trust Him!

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" (1 Peter 1:7)

He works within us both to will and to do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2: 13), and in the face of difficult challenges, beyond our own efforts to resolve, we can see His grace at work in us and around us (1 Corinthians 15: 10; 2 Peter 3: 18)

In fact, we see how free we really are when we allow Jesus to set us free, even in the midst of our most trying times.

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