If you grew up in church you’ve probably heard the story of the three Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being thrown into the “blazing furnace” by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar did this because the three men refused to bow down and worship a statue of Nebuchadnezzar. In his rage and fury Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace heated up seven times hotter than usual to make sure the Hebrews were good and toasted. However the only people that were toasted were the guards who had the dubious duty of carrying out the execution.
As Nebuchadnezzar looked on he exclaimed,
“I see four men, unbound, walking around in the fire unharmed! And the fourth looks like a god!” Daniel 3:25
The king had the three Hebrew men released from the furnace and brought to him. If the story were not amazing enough the Bible states that as the king and his advisers gathered around them that they saw,
“the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke! Daniel 3:27 (Italics added)
Wow, these three men stood up for their beliefs knowing it could cost them their lives. What were they thinking when they were being led to the mouth of the furnace? You know they felt the heat. They watched as their guards succumbed to the fire.
Was Shadrach asking Abednego, “where’s God?” Did Meshach cry out in frustration, “Why me God?!” Please see that God didn’t enter the picture to rescue them UNTIL they were in the fire.
What? We don’t want to face the fire. We want God to make our lives perfect with no fire. Somewhere we’ve started believing that if we’re going through a hard season, a time that tests my faith that either we’re in sin or God has abandoned us.
But 1 Peter 1:7 tells us,
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. (Italics added)
Our faith is being purified, strengthened and set before others as an example of truth.
Remember Jesus said,
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:14
Paul put it this way,
“But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. 2 Corinthians 2:14-15
We are meant to be on display. We are on display whether we like it or not. The question is do we smell like smoke or perfume?
Have you ever stood close to a bonfire? The smoke gets into your clothes and sometimes even after washing them it can still have a smoky smell. In the same vein, have you ever given someone a hug who is wearing cologne or perfume? You can smell it on your clothes even after you’ve walked away. What is affecting your life and decisions more, the smoke from the trial or the perfume of your savior’s presence? You’re going to smell like one or the other, spiritually speaking.
Don’t let the trails of life infuse you with smoke and control you. Instead get close to the father, so you smell like him. Then when you encounter others it will be obvious whose presence you’ve been in.