Walking through Fire without Smelling like Smoke

Here is a awesome post by one of our local leaders;  Dustin Schultz. When my wife started a job working for a pastor at our church it took about a month before she shared the story of my unfaithfulness that happened early in our marriage. This wasn’t a counseling session and it didn’t come about from anything odd being perceived about my wife. The conversation came while they were just getting to know each other and as we’ve walked out our healing process we’ve seen how these conversations become easier and hold less shame.After listening, the pastor responded, “Wow, I never would have known. Normally when there has been a fire you can smell the smoke.” We all know what they meant by that; that couple or individual you see or talk to and you just know something is off. You can almost, dare I say, 'smell the smoke'. Something has happened, they are in or have gone through the fire and will never be the same. They disqualify themselves from being great or try to over compensate. They manipulate or come across as victims. The list goes on.Naturally I’m an analyzer in my mind, so a statement like this made me wonder, “What did we do differently?”. Then of course, there was the other nagging question, “I’ve heard a phrase about people not smelling like smoke before, but where?”. Oh right...24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” 26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singged nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God (Daniel 3:24-28)Healing well wasn’t about what I did at all, it was about how I did it and who I did it with. Here’s the difference; we so often are looking for a formula to deal with our situations, but it’s not actually about the decisions we make as much as it is about why we make the decisions we do.The WhoPlease don’t skip over this as you quickly skim this blog and say, “Yeah, I know, I go to church, the answer is Jesus”. If that’s what you’re thinking, you’ve missed it entirely and what you’ve missed is the wonder of who He is, what He has done, and what He’s doing in you now. It wasn’t Shadrach and his two amigos who told the king who was in the fire with them. The king saw and knew! Do people look at your life, the fire that you’re in and see why you aren’t being burned up? Jesus is the one who doesn’t just take our mistakes and ‘fix them’, He actually turns them in victories that others are in awe of.If you’re healing process isn’t leading you closer to Jesus, it’s fake and will fail. Period.The HowNow that you’re reminded who you’re doing this with, look at verse 28, “…His servants who trusted in Him…and yielded their bodies”. This is the ‘how'. Yielded, submitted, giving ourselves up in trust.When I first started to get well, to let go of pornography, sexual sin, passivity, etc. the first thing I wanted to do was run around and shout, ‘I’m free! I’m the man! I have all the tools, I can help anyone!’. Red Flag. Celebrate for yourself and with those close to you, but don’t start booking your speaking tour just yet Rambo. You need to stay in the fire until those watching you can’t help but call you out of it to ask what has happened (verse 26). Many times, especially if you are reading on this blog, the fire you are in you’ve lit yourself. That wasn’t the case for our three Israelites in the story above, and yet they submitted to the process. If you make your decisions from a place of submission, you won’t have to worry about your actions, your words, or the results they bring. We are simply called to worry about obedience, no matter how uncomfortable. A Side NoteShadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were chosen to be exiled from Israel and to come work for the king because they were the best; the wisest, the most handsome, etc. (Daniel 1:1-5). These men were removed from their homes and their very identities were stripped when the king renamed them (Daniel 1:7). Great men don’t blame their circumstances. Great man are great wherever they are.