Danielle and I are extremely excited to be on the World Reach team. It’s awesome to be a part of a ministry that unapologetically and unashamedly proclaims Jesus to the world. We are truly humbled and thankful for the opportunity to serve our Lord.

For me, the end of the year is a great time for spiritual examination. It’s time for me to examine my heart and ask some honest questions. On what did I spend most of my time and resources? How did I use the opportunities God gave me to bear witness about him? Was I faithful? Did I place other things before him? Was I quick to repent? Was I bold? Did I stand firm?

I was reading the other day and came across a story in the Old Testament that most of us have heard a hundred times before. Yet this time God used it in a fresh way to challenge my heart. In Daniel chapter three we read about Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego. King Nebuchadnezzar had just built a golden statue and commanded his entire nation to bow and worship the image. When Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego did not bow they were brought before the king and told that if they did not bow and worship the statue, they would be thrown in the fiery furnace. Listen to their response to the King of Babylon:

“Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

Wow! These guys took a stand before the king and said, “No, we will not bow down to anything or anyone other than our God. You can throw us in your fire, but our God is able to deliver us from your hand. But even if He doesn’t, we will burn before we bow!”

Though today we are not being forced to bow before a golden statue, there are so many things that battle for our worship. Examine your own heart. Ask God to reveal the idols in your life that attempt to usurp the position that God alone deserves.

My prayer for my family and yours this new year is that we, as followers of Jesus, would be unwavering in our devotion, uncompromising in our stand, and unshaken in our faith. May our declaration to the world be that of Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego: “We will burn before we bow.”

– Jared