Trial by Fire by Paulette Reed
By Paulette Reed
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Trials by Fire
In 1 Peter 1:7 we see that trials by fire are simply a part of our Christian walk with the Lord. Sadly, too many people assume that when the storms of life hit, then God may be displeased with them as if they had done something wrong to deserve hard times. But Peter writes to remind his readers that this is not the case.
He says, "These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold - though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world."
We can conclude from our Scripture that faith untried still remains faith, but it may not be genuine faith. In fact, it will only remain wimpy faith until it's tested and tried. In other words, our faith is only strengthened and matured by trials and tribulations, which cause us to endure them and eventually overcome them. After all, how can we be overcomers if we don't have issues to overcome? Faith rises to the occasion during each test it faces and changes us from glory to glory. Beloved, think of each trial as a spiritual workout to beef up your faith until you're a force to be reckoned with and your life brings glory to God!
The Anchor of Our Souls
Imagine for a moment that you're out on a sailboat. The sun is shining, and the water is calm and beautiful, glistening in the sun. The sound and feel of the waves gently rocking the boat becomes therapeutic, like a baby rocking in the womb of his or her mother. Now, it doesn't take a whole lot of faith to know that boats stay afloat in water and that they can bring pleasure to all who set sail on them. Just thinking of this peaceful situation can bring a smile to our face and relaxation to our soul and body.
Next, imagine that you're on that same sailboat. The morning starts out beautiful, sun shining, with gentle breezes moving the vessel along. Then, all of a sudden, huge rushing winds move in and waves begin to wash onto the boat, pounding the deck, one after another. The sound of tranquility is replaced with the sound of thunder that seems to shake the earth, and the glistening of the sun is replaced with bolts of lightning that would startle anyone. Yet in the midst of the waves and the wind, the anchor holds, making sure the vessel is secure during of the storm.
Hebrews 6:19 tells us that Jesus is the anchor of our souls. It is our faith in Him that helps us remain steadfast and rise above the storms of life, learning to soar with the eagles.
When we're young in the faith, perhaps we don't realize that our weaknesses allow for God's strength to be seen in and through us. But as we go through the storms of life, we learn that true strength rests in God alone. We also learn that we can't increase faith and strength by willing it to be so or by trying to muster it up. Rather, there's a divine plan that allows trials by fire to increase our strength - not in ourselves, but in our God!
A Precious Commodity
Faith becomes a very precious commodity to us as it grows and triumphs in the midst of adversity. Peter said it is tried like gold repeatedly refined in a fire, until all of the impurities are taken out. That means we don't become Christ-like through having our faith tested one time, but through having it tested over and over again. We will all face various trials throughout our lives and these trials allow impurities to come to the surface so God can scape them off, revealing more of His glory in our lives.
Tried faith can become a precious experience with the Faithful One, rooting us and grounding us in the character and love of God. Without the testing of our faith, our relationship with the Lord will remain shallow, not one that continually goes deeper with Him. I believe God is inviting all of us to go deeper with Him in the days ahead, as He will be looking for faith when He returns (see Luke 18:8).
So even though gold is valuable - a precious commodity - and the more pure it becomes the more value it is worth, Peter says that our faith is much more precious than gold that perishes. Gold is worthless compared to our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Gold will simply perish, but faith in our God will last forever.
Mature and Complete, Lacking Nothing
And remember, too, that it's only after we are tested that we become mature and complete in God, lacking nothing (see James 1:2-4). This is why James can exhort us to "consider it an opportunity for great joy" when "troubles come your way." Joy can be experienced in the midst of the storms of life because God is using them to mature us, mold us into His image, and make us more and more like Him. It is in this place of testing that we move beyond the mere reading of God's Word to becoming His Word as we occupy until He comes.
Beloved, we must push beyond the natural order of the day, and into the supernatural, divine order of our God. Tried faith is the faith that has tasted and seen that God is good! The psalmist's words were not just poetry, but an invitation to experience the goodness of God even when the storms of life are bad: "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).
I know that this is a very simple message, but we all need to hear it again and again because we know that faith comes by hearing....and by trials. May you ever go deeper in your relationship with God through the storms of life, letting Him mold you into His image while increasing your joy.
By Patricia King, Bart and Kim Hadaway, Paulette Reed, and Rob Hotchkin