Applying a Little Heat

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
~ 1 Peter 1:6-7

One of the most painful experiences at camp occurred one night at our cabin cookout. We had a delicious gourmet pot of stew simmering over the fire in a heavy cast-iron pot. One of the campers offered to do the final stirring before we removed it from the fire. Being a good counselor, I was standing right beside him when he accidentally knocked it over. My instincts reached for the pot trying to salvage our dinner. The result was a nice burn line from the handle across my fingers.

Fire can be both a blessing and a pain (literally).

The Bible agrees. Peter writes that the trials in our life are like a fire. Though no one really likes trials and difficulties because they can hurt for a time, the Bible affirms that those very trials test and prove our faith. That is a good thing.

Maybe you are suffering right now, perhaps from your own poor decisions, perhaps from circumstances, or the cruelty of someone else. God permits our trials because we need them to purify and strengthen our faith.

God in his wise love appoints trials so that our sin will be exposed and we will lean on Christ. Just like fire removes the impurities of gold, the sufferings we experience can force us to rely upon Christ like we may not otherwise be inclined. We may discover hidden sins like pride that would otherwise remain undetected. The difference between those trials being beneficial and leaving us burned or scarred is in how we approach them. The only way we can rejoice in our trials (verse 6) is to approach them prayerfully and humbly, asking God to purify us and for us to learn the lessons of the “fire.” Without Christ those trials may not produce the positive results God intends.

So remember, not all heat is bad, as long as you are prepared.