“Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.”
Daniel 3:26-27 NIV
When Genesys asked me to write something for Overcome I felt the Lord immediately move me to write about this. This is one of my all time favorite stories in the Bible. We see Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego defy to worship King Nebuuchadnezzar because they’re servants of our one true God and because of it they’re thrown into a fiery pit. However, instead of burning, there’s another in the fire, our God steps in and delivers the boys from the pit without so much as a hair on their head being hurt. Such a beautiful illustration of how in our times of crisis, God is always with us. Always protecting us. As beautiful as that is, that’s not what I want to focus on, what I want to focus on is just that last sentence. Did you catch it? ”there was no smell of fire on them”.
We are NOT the sum of our mistakes. Our identity is not comprised of the fires we’ve walked through or our mistakes, failures and shortcomings. No. Our identity is beautiful and simple. We are children of God. Because of God’s relentless love, unending compassion and wild grace our sin and shame are cleansed and we are made pure before Jesus.
My past is messy. It wasn’t too long ago that I was in the worst fire of my life. I struggled with a porn addiction and I was part of a failed marriage and because of that, I was filled with shame. I wore that shame as if it were a scarlet letter. Everywhere I went I felt that everybody could see it on me, “there’s the failed husband…there’s the failed father”. Everyone could smell the smoke. I allowed myself to fear the fire that was surrounding me and there were times I lost hope. And then through seeking healing I started to come to the most important realization of my life. The realization that I was ignoring my identity. Not the identity the world painted for me or the identity I allowed the lies of the enemy to fabricate. I was ignoring my TRUE identity. My identity as a child of God. I learned to allow Gods grace to wash over me and let Him love me as only our Father can love His kids.
I hope that you read this and see that your past is forgiven. Your sin, shame and mistakes, are all dead the second you repent and ask for forgiveness. If you’ve been through fire or are in the fire now, rest in the comfort of knowing that you are not alone. He is there with you and the best part is, after He delivers you from the flames, there’s no need to feel shame, nobody can smell the smoke.