Grieved by Various Trials

1 Peter 1:6-9 ESV

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Grieved by Various Trials

These words are written to those of genuine faith in Jesus Christ. They are the chosen of God according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ (see vv. 1-2). They are those who have been born again of God to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for those who are believing in Jesus Christ with genuine faith in Christ (vv. 3-5).

We who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness – and who are walking by faith in him in holiness and righteousness, and in obedience to our Lord, and who have forsaken our lives of sin to follow Jesus – we should expect that we are going to be grieved by various trials in order to test the genuineness of our faith so that it may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. So, these trials should not surprise or overtake us.

So, what kinds of trials might we be faced with? Natural disaster might be one of them. Financial crisis might be another. Add physical ailments to that. The death of a family member might be another.

And then there are persecutions and abuses and people mistreating us and judging us unfairly, perhaps because they are judging us by themselves or by their own prejudices. There are many abusive people out there and some of them are pastors and elders of churches who have “god complexes,” who are narcissistic and arrogant and who play god and who treat other people disdainfully.

And so if you are following Jesus Christ with wholehearted devotion, and if you are walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and if you are sharing the truth of the gospel with people, you may have some people with narcissistic character traits who will abuse you and mistreat you and who will try to trick and trap you in hopes that you will fall. For this describes those who persecuted Jesus. That is exactly what they did. They hounded him all the time and continually tried to trap him in their schemes.

And it was because they wanted to falsely accuse him. They were looking for any way possible that they could accuse Jesus because they hated him and what he stood for and for the words he taught and because he told them the truth about their own sins. They wanted to bring him down. And eventually they accomplished getting him hung on a cross to die, thinking that it would finish him off and they would no longer have him to deal with. But he rose again, and he had followers who carried on his work and who taught the same things that he taught, and they hated them, too.

And those same types of people exist today within the church who are in positions of power and authority over the people, and some of them are users and abusers who manipulate and who take advantage of the weak, the naïve, and the vulnerable, too. And they come against those who are strong in the strength of the Lord, too, because they can’t manipulate them into compromising with the world. And that makes them angry, just like Jesus’ persecutors were angry with him because they could not get him to do what they wanted him to do. And those who hated him will hate us, too.

But all of this, all these persecutions have a purpose. Satan means them for evil in our lives, in hopes that he can get us to give up and to compromise our faith and moral values. But God intends them for good in our lives to mature us in him, that we might share in his holiness, to test the genuineness of our faith, that although tested by fire (indeed) may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, when he returns to judge and to take his faithful ones to be with him for eternity. So, we need to yield to God and learn from him in these trials.

We Love Jesus

We cannot let these trials undo us. We can’t let them overtake us. We have to accept God’s sovereignty over our lives. Yet we can pray for deliverance and for help and for healing and for wisdom to know how to respond to these trials and to our persecutors. And we can yield to the Lord and let him teach us what we need to learn through our trials. For he is perfecting us through them, and he is conforming us to his likeness when we yield control over to him and when we submit to his will and purposes for our lives.

It serves no good purpose to get angry with God because life is not treating us fairly. For one, Jesus never promised us an easy life if we follow him. He promised us a life of suffering and a life of being hated and persecuted as he was hated and persecuted. So we have to accept that suffering and injustices are going to be part of what we will experience when we follow Jesus with our lives. It will hurt, yes! These trials are not pain free. But we can take them to Jesus in prayer and find solace there in his presence.

And then we need to keep loving Jesus and keep loving other humans, even those who hate and mistreat us. We need to love them like Jesus loves us, and we need to be willing to be hated and mistreated in order to help others be free from their slavery to sin. And this is loving Jesus, too. And to love Jesus is obeying him. If we do not obey him, Scripture teaches that we do not love him. This is not talking about sinless perfection, though. This is talking about day by day following Jesus in obedience and by the Spirit putting the deeds of the flesh to death.

Those who sow to please the flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction. But those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. If we walk according to the flesh we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. But if we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, by the Spirit, then we have the hope of obtaining the outcome of our faith which is the salvation of our souls and eternal life with God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

‘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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