When the Fiery Trials Come

1 Peter 4:12-16 ESV

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.”

What fiery trials are you going through right now? I’ve gone through many in my life, and I am still going through some, although they are not all in the “fiery” category. Still, they are trials which test my faith. And they are still trials, meaning there are difficult situations involved in them. And they do test my faith. But they also help me to grow in my walk of faith in the Lord, and they draw me closer to the Lord, and they teach me what our Lord went through on this earth in order to secure our salvation from sin.

Trials, although painful experiences, do go better when we are prepared for them, when we know to expect them, and when we accept that they are for our good to mature us in our walks of faith and to prune and to purify us spiritually that we might be more fruitful for the kingdom of heaven. That does not make them hurt less, necessarily, but we are better able to endure them when we have a godly perspective as to why they are necessary in our lives. For it helps if we can see them through God’s perspective.

As followers of Jesus Christ we are given trials to endure that we might share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, becoming like him in his death. And they are for the purpose to produce in us endurance and godly character and hope. And we are to count it all joy when we meet trials of various kinds. Now this isn’t saying we can’t cry. We can. But it is like the example of Jesus who for the joy set before him endured the cross. For that joy is the salvation of human lives. Our trials are for our good.

Now the purpose of these trials is to test the genuiness of our faith, not for God’s benefit for he already knows whether or not our faith is genuine. But it is so that we will know whether or not our faith is genuine so that if it isn’t, or if it is lacking in some way, that we will do what is required to make certain that we are on the right course and that we are following Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives, to the best of our understanding, and according to the teachings of the Scriptures.

Now the Scriptures teach that we are blessed of God when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, when others revile and persecute us for our walks of faith, and when they utter all kinds of evil against us falsely on account of our Lord. Yet, we are to rejoice, for our reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before us. Now we are not all prophets, but if Jesus is living within us, we are all to be his messengers in taking his words to the people of the world and to other believers in Christ for their strengthening and encouragement.

Now, if we are following Jesus with our lives we should expect to be persecuted, but not just by people who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but by others who profess Christ as Lord and Savior, and by pastors and elders of churches, for in essence these were the same people who persecuted Jesus, i.e. the professers of followers of God and the rulers in the temple of God. And we may be persecuted by family members, too, which is what Jesus endured, and even by those who profess faith in Jesus, too.

And even our spouses, whether or not they profess faith in Jesus Christ, may turn against us, and they may sin against us if we are walking closely with the Lord and if they are not. And they may even hate us, and they may do all sorts of evil against us because they resent our walks of faith in Christ. And this may even be like the situation with Cain and Abel. Those closest to us may not like it if we are walking in holiness, if their deeds are evil, for evil likes to have the company of evil, not of righteousness and holiness.

And those who persecute us may deliver us up on charges of things we did not do, and we may be falsely charged with crimes we did not commit, and we may be put in prison, or they may bring us before some kind of council, even like a board of elders in a church.

I had one such case in one church when I was being accused of lying when I did not lie, and I was commanded to attend an elders meeting but I had to admit to lying as a prerequisite to the meeting. But since I did not lie I could not admit to lying, but they would not remove that prerequisite. And since I didn’t lie I could not admit to lying and so I could not attend their meeting, and so they put me on church discipline because I refused to lie. They were like judge and jury without even giving me a fair hearing.

But when they deliver us up we are not to be afraid of them or worry about what we are going to say for the Spirit of God will give us the words to say if we will trust him to do so, that is if we are following Jesus in obedience to his ways and if we are being persecuted for righteousness sake. And we must know that our family members and best friends may be the ones to deliver us up to be persecuted, too, for that is what the Scriptures teach, and that is what happened to Jesus, too.

Anyway, whatever the Lord allows to come into our lives it serves a purpose, and one of those purposes is to discipline us so that we will share in the holiness of God. And another is that we might learn to not rely on ourselves but on God. Still another is that we might have compassion towards others who are going through similar suffering and that we might encourage them with the same counsel and encouragement we received from the Lord Jesus when we were going through similar suffering.

So, all suffering serves a purpose. So, we should not be afraid of suffering unjustly for the sake of the name of Jesus, and for the sake of the gospel, and because of our walks of obedience to our Lord. And we need to give it all over to the Lord and trust him to work it all out for our good. And then we need to cooperate with what the Lord wants to teach us through it all, and then to listen to what he says regarding how we are to respond to such suffering. And then we need to just let him do his work of pruning and purifying us and getting us ready for his return, to the glory of God.

[Matt 5:10-16; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Matt 28:18-20; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Acts 1:8; Acts 14:22; Acts 26:18; Rom 5:3-5; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; 2 Co 1:3-11; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Phil 3:7-11; Col 3:16; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; Heb 3:13; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Pet 4:12-17]

‘Til The Storm Passes By

By Thomas Mosie Lister

In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face
While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place
‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

Many times Satan whispered
There is no use to try
For there’s no end of sorrow, there’s no hope by and by
But I know Thou art with me, and tomorrow I’ll rise
Where the storms never darken the skies

Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more
Till the clouds roll forever from the sky
Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand
Keep me safe till the storm passes by

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