Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, 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 3:16-18
You have probably heard the story of Daniel’s three “fiery” friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego who were thrown in a fiery furnace and lived to tell about it. You may not, however, know them by their given names: Hananiah (meaning “God has favored”), Mishael (“who is what God is) and Azariah (“Jehovah has helped”). King Nebuchadnezzar may have tried to give them “his identity” (“great scribe,” “guest of the king” or “servant of Nebo”), but these three friends held true to who God said they were - favored by God, made in God’s image and helped by God. It would have been so much easier for these three to cave in to who the world (i.e. the king) said they were, but because they were confident in who God had made them to be they were willing to face death knowing that God was able to deliver them.
And deliver them, God did - in glorious fashion. When they operated out of the character God had given them, God ultimately received the glory. Later in the story, Nebuchadnezzar says, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” (Daniel 3:28) And for icing on the cake, they receive a promotion in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom.
We can draw some powerful parallels from this story.
First, it is God who has the right to tell you who you are. He’s the One who formed you and knows you best. And secondly, when you operate out of the position of who you were created to be not only does God get the glory but you are in a position to be helped through every unimaginable circumstance by His strength.
You are doing some hard things. Playing football is no pushover activity--neither is being a college student. Remember Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Remember who God made you to be. The world cannot define you (or your friends or your parents or your coaches even), only God can do that. Remember who you play for. Remember He is going through every circumstance of your life with you. You can live confidently knowing He is with you in every moment of every day.
Stop and ask God to help you remember or discover His definition of who you are. Ask Him to remind you that it is the Lord God whom you play for and with.