1 Peter 1:6-12
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must 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. 10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you. 11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward. 12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.
Last time we saw that trials can be transforming and today we are going to unpack this truth and discover how difficulties can actually benefit and bless our lives. First trials can be transforming in that:
- Trials can strengthen our faith in the Lord.
Verse 7 says “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.” The word “genuine” means that which is proven. Trails can be a blessing because they reveal where we are really at. You see just as gold is purified through fire, so too our faith is proven through pain. God says this in Isaiah 48:10 “I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering” Job who went through terrible trials knew that his suffering would serve to strengthen him when he cried out in Job 23:10: “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” Today we want the confirmation without the challenges, but just like in school, tests show us where we are really at. We may want a trouble free life but we need trials because while they are hard they are also very helpful. Can a faith that is not tested really be trusted? In Bible times when a craftsman wanted to make something of fine gold, he would first purify the gold using a furnace of intense heat. This intense heat would drive out and burn up all the impurities and the goldsmith would know the work was done when he could see the reflection of his own face in the liquefied gold. Sometimes God turns up the heat in our lives in order to work out the impurities. Do you realize that pain can purify and trials can temper? If everything went well how would you ever know if your faith was real?” You know your faith is the real when you’re going through the garbage and you’re still giving God the glory. Second:
- Trials can deepen our love for the Lord.
Verse 8 says “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.” The word for love here is agape, which refers to an unconditional, not an emotional love. Trials have a way of getting us to what really matters. We might skate along on the surface, on a superficial and emotional level for a while but when problems come, we’re forced to either say “later” to the Lord or to love Him at a much deeper level. Third:
- Trials can grow our joy in Jesus.
You can have joy in the midst of the junk. In the bible sadness and gladness often coexist side by side, it’s one of the greatest paradoxes of Christianity. In Acts 5:41 we find Peter and John “rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.” Hardships may hamper your happiness but they don’t have to drown out your joy. Fourth:
- Trials help us put our hope in the Lord.
Verse 9 says, “The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” Our hope is not in our earthly home, our health or what is happening, it is in our home in heaven. Sometimes it’s only when suffering has stripped us of everything but the Savior that we realize how rich we are. What if we were to stop focusing on the garbage and start focusing on the glory? Are you going to focus on the hurts or the hope? For believers, all of our bad days on earth will be better than one day in Hell. The mark of maturity isn’t so much what you know but what happens to your worship in the winter when the winds of worry blow and things go from bad to worse. Are you going to be a fair weather worshipper or a fearless one? Mature Christians don’t waste their energy moaning and groaning they chose to give God the glory. Praise is not a denial of problems, Peter doesn’t deny or dismiss the problems and the pressures of this life but he says that they don’t have to dominate us. He is telling us to stop giving priority to the problems and to start making praise our priority. Look our problems are for a little while but praise is for eternity. What if instead of getting worked up over our worry we start getting worked up over worship? As you go through this season of suffering you have a choice, you can seek the Savior and sing, or you can allow your suffering to sour and suffocate you. It’s easy to lose perspective when going through problems so Peter reminds the church to keep their eyes on the prize. Instead of focusing on the suffering we can focus on the Savior and our salvation that came through His suffering. Salvation that was predicted by the prophets, proclaimed by the apostles and prized by angels. So what are you going to do with your pain, are you going to let it control and consume you, or are you going to give it to God and let Him use it to purify you?