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The Monthly Bread Archives

"A Genuine Faith Through Trials"

1 Peter 1:6-7

v6..In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
v7..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. (NIV)

When I was a kid, I remember being curious about one friend of my Father's who was always sick, going through one operation after another. It seemed amazing to me how much pain this man endured, yet I never heard him complain. One day I had the chance to privately ask him how he dealt with so much suffering. He told me something simple, yet profound that I've never forgotten - he said "Pain is just a temporary thing. It never lasts very long, so I look forward to the time when I'll feel better." Now mind you, this was not a Christian, yet he knew suffering was only for a season. He did not have eternal hope in his life the way we do and still he managed to be positive about his future.

How many of us as Christians can be so confident in our trials? Peter says your attitude ought to be of "great rejoicing." When we get to complaining how many of us remember our goal is eternal faith? How many of us can see it's worth, and that suffering is only for a little while? Most of us focus only on the immediate problem with little vision of God's solution. Without faith it will seem like an eternity. But this is the very reason Peter says we have trials: that your faith be proved genuine. One cannot even rejoice in a small way if they have never seen the worth of their faith. God's goal is not to make your life more complicated than it already is, but to use trials - and even "all kinds of trials" if necessary, to bring you to a goal of genuine faith. It must be worth it since faith in God is worth more than gold. Notice Peter did not give any amount of gold since even the price in Fort Knox's treasury is of less value when it comes to God's economy of investing in you as a redeemed individual.

Unfortunately it is only when looking back that we can appreciate God's refining work in our lives. Peter says the "result" is in"praise, honor, and glory". This result comes after the trials, for most people.

Ps 119:71..It is good for me that I have been afflicted: that I might learn thy statutes. (KJV)

Only the one who has, for the first time, passed through a divine test of the Lord will experience the great Joy and understanding of the full benefit of trials. It is then we can realize that even blessing needs a foundation to rest upon. But that is not where it ends. There are more trials to be entered. Peter declares "you may have to" (KJV.."if needs be") suffer grief in all kinds of trials". "All kinds" seems to indicate that there are many schools of learning God has selected for each of us, designed to address the flaws of fear and doubt. God is wise in determining the different seasons in the life of each believer. He is careful not to overwhelm us with too much at one time, yet brings us to a place of success.

The good news here is that we may be able to eliminate certain kinds of trials depending on how well we respond to God in our walk of faith. We might not always "have to" (or "if needs be") enter into certain tests brought on by our own negligence, which results in taking the long way around. But this is not to say we can avoid trials entirely. It is inevitable that even the righteous will have tribulation in this world. If we are to go from "faith to faith", obviously our faith will have to be tested. There is no other way to grow. Just as the knowledge of people are tested in schools and the muscles of athletes are tested in Olympic games, so it is that the same principle of growth applies to those who walk in the spirit by faith. They will have to flex their faith to develop stronger faith.

The problem is that most often we assume that trials mean failure or sin. What we don't understand is even on our best day of believing God with all that is within us, our faith still has "needs". Therefore, trials will be present also.

It should take the pressure off many to know that Jesus being the "author and finisher of our Faith" (HEB 12:2) means that any faith we receive originates in Him, not in ourselves. Outside of His giving, we are not responsible for what faith we lack. This is a inner work. Dismiss any expectations that we are to conjure up faith from the human spirit. There are no shortcuts. We can only receive what God gives. If what He gives us is trials, know that it is for the benefit of faith that He does. If on the other hand we fail to respond out of negligence, then are we at fault. Usually because it is given by way of trials we care little for the outcome of faith.

Let me encourage you not to lose heart in the event that trials arise. It is appointed that we enter into the next trial, not only with greater Joy, but greater strength as well.

1 Pet 5:10..But the God of all grace,...after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.