The Comfort of the Heat

Ever have a chair? Like a chair that is 100 percent yours? A chair that no matter the mood, no matter the circumstances of the day, no matter the stressful day you have had you can sit in your chair, and within moments the comfort overlaps everything else! One could generally find out which chair is yours within moments of sitting in it. There is a chair in my mother in laws place that is super comfortable, but I have yet to find comfort because it isn’t my chair.

Another thing that tends to fade away in the shadows when in this mode of comfort is motivation. Some things would cause us to get up and move from our chairs. For example, there is hunger, the urge to use the facilities or emergencies with pets, children, or that Amazon delivery we must get before anyone else finds out it’s out there!

We also get into the comfort zone spiritually. Well, maybe it’s only me. Recently, I attended an event for men in the district I serve in southwest Indiana. We try to gather a couple of times a year and I find myself looking forward to these more and more. The guest speaker is a District Superintendent that I have heard speak before and was anxiously waiting for the message he would deliver from the pulpit. Who doesn’t love a good sermon right? What I was not expecting was a slap in the back of the head. You know, like Gibbs’ style for those NCIS fans. He spoke on the fiery furnace and the three men joined by the Son of God found in Daniel 3. It’s a story many of the Christian faith know well.

Three Hebrew men (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were sentenced to a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to an idol. This was for all intents and purposes a death sentence. They were not supposed to survive this furnace. Scripture tells us that guards were ordered to raise the temperature by adding fuel to this fire and died in the process of taking the men to the fire. King Nebuchadnezzar was furious with these men and their resolve.  As the story continues, we find there is a fourth man in the fire. The three come out without a hair singed, no smell of smoke in their clothes, and not even a single bead of sweat on their brows!  The King had a transformation from this span of events.

Then the question was asked by our speaker. What if they got comfortable in the warmth and kneeled to appease the King? What if they said it’s not worth it? What if they avoided the fire? They would have missed the greatest day of their lives! This is where we are left with these three men. We know no more of them. Their life was a testimony that is told to generations over 2000 years later! They had a lasting effect on the King as well as any person that reads the text found in Daniel. What was the conversation like inside the fire? They got to talk to the very Son of the Most High God!

See, we were challenged that Saturday morning to not get comfortable in the heat outside. Do not avoid the fire. In the fire is where we have a supernatural appointment with the Son of God. It was that challenge that rang loud. It convicted firmly. I, personally have gotten comfortable in the heat. We have been experiencing a harvest here in this local body. I have found myself comparing day one to now, two and a half years later. I have found myself thinking what God is doing is enough. Where what He does is always enough, I was starting to limit the limits to which He can bring a harvest. Comfortable in the heat. Stuck in a chair.

When we think of God-sized dreams, it becomes too difficult to become comfortable. Walking in faith rarely includes comfort. Abraham walked in faith, not knowing which direction to walk, Peter walked with faith on water (Matt 14:22-33), Ananias went to find the dreaded Saul knowing who he was in blind faith (Acts 9:10-16). I remember a certain rookie pastor moving to a small town in southwest Indiana without his family. I am sure you may be reflecting on a time that you took that step into the fire on nothing but faith. Faith like this is taking the step regardless of the outcome. Daniel 3:17-18 says:

(17) If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. (18) But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Those three men knew there could be different outcomes. They went into the fire anyway. On faith. What is your fire? What is God calling you to do and trust in Him to control the outcome? Do not avoid the fire. Do not get comfortable in the heat.  As Dr. Brian Powel stated with conviction and boldness: “Stop asking for less heat. Don’t avoid the furnace.” We will see God in the furnace. We will experience His presence, His grace, His victory, His holiness in that very furnace.

Let’s get out of the chair! Let’s pray that our God will turn up the heat!

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