Have you ever thought that one of the reasons humans are so intrinsically valuable is that we are God’s created vessels through which he may display his glory? What an incredible honor.
In Daniel 3, the story of Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego, King Nebuchadnezzar throws these three men in a fire heated up to seven times its usual temperature in order to show his glory and might to the people of his kingdom. The fire was so hot it killed the guards tasked with throwing the men into it. Yet these three men remained unscathed as they walked from the inferno unsinged, protected by the God of Israel.
Though the whole story is one big miracle, there is also a small, miraculous detail told that, at first, is easily missed. All three of these men were bound as tightly as possible by the strongest soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar’s guard just before they were thrown into the fire. Yet, they walked out of the fire not only unsinged but also free, unbound. The fire had disintegrated only the ropes that bound them.
They were as free as when they had refused to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image. They were as free as when they had chosen potential death over the rejection of the one true God. They were always free in God. And through their freedom, God spoke his glory.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
— John 8:36
This first-world existence we know is pleasant and easy to love. We are tempted to defend many evil and detrimental things in order to protect this coveted life. Often, at the very least, we turn a blind eye to evil so that we may avoid the ensuing fire that would take us from this comfort. We bind ourselves with the ropes of this world, loving it so much that we become bound tighter and tighter to it, sacrificing anything for it. But like the three Jewish men in the book of Daniel, God calls us to walk through the fire that comes when we reject evil. It is through the fire that he wishes to free us from our ultimately destructive dedication to this world, orient us to our true home with him, and bring glory to his name so that others may also be free.
And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.
— Revelation 12:11
…Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.
— John 3:29–30