testing & trials

Have you ever come to a point in your life where you had to stand by your beliefs in spite of the fact that it didn’t look like there was any possible good outcome? That is a tough place to come to. It is a place where everything you have ever believed to be true is tested. It is a place where the temptation to give up and give in can be overwhelming. It is also a place where our character is defined and our faith is perfected.

Peter describes it this way: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6, 7).

In our world of modern convenience and unprecedented luxury (I know we question that concept sometimes, but think about the circumstances so much of the rest of the world deals with), any kind of adversity that lasts more than a day or causes us to change our plans more than a little bit has the potential to cause us untold heartache and despair. The reason for this is that we have been convinced by advertisers and the success we have enjoyed that we deserve the best of everything and, if we will apply ourselves, we can have it. But as Peter points out, God is more interested in perfecting our character and increasing our faith than he is increasing our possessions or leisure.

We like that in concept but, when it comes to actually having to do without something or, worse yet, lose something we have come to value, we become overwhelmed with a sense of grief and embarrassment because we feel we are the only ones suffering in this manner. All of a sudden we feel like kids in the school yard again trying to keep up our image hoping no one will see through the charade we are trying to pull off. However, as Paul promised in Philippians 1:6, God has begun a good work in us and he is going to bring that work to completion. What is the work he is doing? Making us more like Jesus.


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