Keith and I have been reading Daniel the last couple nights. I was freshly encouraged by the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They refused to bow to the golden image King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and in his rage the king threatened to throw them into the fiery furnace if they would not bow. They responded with great courage and faith, saying:
"O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:16-18)
And while God did save these faithful saints from the blazes of the furnace that even killed the soldiers that threw the men in, they could not have expected that they would walk out of the flames without even smelling like smoke. It's not everyday God intervenes in such a miraculous way. These men were ready to die rather than sin against the God of heaven! Might we all be inspired by the example of those who face much graver circumstances than we do, and choose death to self rather than sinning against God.