Trial by Fire

Monday, October 29, 2012

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One of the defining moments in Tyler's faith was when he was a young child and watched his house burn down.  He said that in that moment, as he watched his home go up in flames, he knew that Jesus was real.

1 Peter 1:3-9 reminds us that fires happen; both literally and figuratively.  They aren't God's way of punishing us.  They often aren't even a result of anything we've done.  They are the result of a world that is fragile and broken and susceptible.  God uses these situations, though, to reveal Himself to us:

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.

6 So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 7 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.

8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Tom Felten derives three truths from this passage.  They are directed toward marriages, but I believe they can apply to faith and our other relationships as well:

Trials can torch the stuff of this world, but they can’t burn away true faith and love. There is a “wonderful joy ahead” (1 Peter 1:6) for those who persist in their faith and in loving their spouse—even when material things or other precious things have been lost.

Trials can refine faith and marital relationships. When you choose to “love [God] even though you have never seen Him” (1 Peter 1:8), even as the stuff you see is crumbling around you, your precious faith and marriage is being tempered—made stronger (1 Peter 1:7).

Trials are temporal, but God’s promises are eternal. Keep your focus on Jesus and your great reward of salvation (1 Peter 1:9) when the fires of this world are raging around you. They’re simply sacred flames that can purify your faith and marriage.

What are ways that you remind yourself of God's Truth and Promises during times of trial and fire?

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