Tested By Fire

Has your faith ever been tested by the fire of afflictions and trials? This test of trial occurs when something in our lives goes contrary to the way things are supposed to be. Since we have against us an enemy who is a thief that comes to kill, steal, and destroy, almost daily are we faced with the task of confronting the evil hosts of darkness.

Text: 1 Peter 1:6-7; James 1:2-4,12; Psalm 34:19-22

Certainly a test or trial will create a need in our lives and God has chosen faith as the avenue to which Christians get those needs met. Our faith in God and our willingness and ability to believe the Holy Scriptures will be tested with each and every trial we face. 1 Peter 1:6,7 says, “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.”

Faith needs a challenge and will get its greatest opportunity for use through the tests and trials that come our way in everyday living. God’s Word builds your faith up but only tests and trials will allow your faith to go into action and operation.

In his second letter to the Thessalonian church, Paul commends his fellow believers for having a faith that “grows exceedingly” (2 Thessalonians 1:3). The Bible teaches that faith “comes” by getting into and hearing the Word of God but how does faith “grow”? The answer is found in the following verse, “And this is a cause of our mentioning you with pride among the churches of God for your steadfastness - your unflinching endurance and patience - and your firm faith in the midst of all your persecutions and crushing distresses and afflictions under which you are holding up” (2 Thessalonians 1:4 AMP).

When faith comes it must always be tested by fire because God wants a pure and glorious church without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27). Is your faith like pure gold or is it cheap gold plating? Faith is exercised and grows in the midst of persecutions and afflictions. This is why it is so important to stay in the Word and pass through the fire when tests and trials come. Psalm 12:6 says, “The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Many times, it is in the midst of the fire and the furnace of affliction that the grace and mercy of God is recognized the most. There is only one thing the devil wants from you and that is your faith. Without faith you are no threat to him. Satan’s goal is to keep you distracted and ignorant of the truth that will set you free. He knows that he is no threat to you by himself and has never won the battle yet. He is a total failure and cannot successfully attack and defeat you without first getting your permission. Permission is granted to him each time we run away from our tests and trials and when we refuse to do anything about them.

2 Thessalonians 1:5, 11, says that our worthiness to God is proven by our passing through the fire. Don’t try to get out of all your troubles by taking the easy way out. You must pass through the fire! How? By using your faith! Your faith will not fail if you continue hearing and hearing and hearing the Word of God. Don’t fall into the devil’s trap by allowing distractions to keep you from reading and confessing God’s Word daily. Know for certain that God will honor your faith at the point it’s developed.

Since faith can grow, continue to build on the faith you now have so that your next walk through the fire won’t take so long and the victory will be greater. Believe Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” Say out loud, “Yet in all these things I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loves us” (Romans 8:37). Be convinced in your heart that God is on your side and He is bigger than any problem you have.

Let the peace of God rule in your inner man during your times of trial. Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of God. The book of Isaiah 59:1 (AMP) says, “When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight - for He will come like a rushing stream which the breath of the Lord drives.”

In Paul’s final letter before his death, he tells Timothy, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). When tests and trials come, Jesus tells us to “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven…” (Luke 6:23a). Satan cannot stand the sound of praise for it reminds him of the ministry he once had as the top angel in heaven.

For sure, giving glory to God in the midst of the fire is the quickest way to make the devil shut up. Giving praise to God during a test or trial will be the last thing many of you will want to do but we must do it anyway. This is what is called a “sacrifice of praise” (Heb. 13:15). Continually making a sacrifice of praise will touch the heart of God more than anything we know. This is faith in action. When you do this you are not focusing on the circumstances around you but rather on your Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

From a dungeon cell, Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always - delight, gladden yourselves in Him; again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 AMP). The Greek word for “rejoice” means to ‘brighten up, leap, and spin around.’ When trials come, don’t look sad and gloomy. Instead, put a smile on your face and brighten up! Stand in your living room and begin to jump up and down. Leap for joy! Spin around as you’re leaping and make a joyful noise unto the Lord. “But this isn't normal,” you might say. Of course it’s not. That’s why we’re called a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9). The bottom line is that it works.

As you praise God in this fashion and continue to confess what the Word says about your situation, all of a sudden God will get bigger and bigger in your heart and the obstacle will get smaller and smaller. Before you know it, you will exit from the other end of the furnace of affliction having successfully passed through the fire. Rejoice during the times of struggle because “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Tested by Fire
Every Christian should view their tests and trials as stepping stones on their journey to becoming Christ-like. Satan will contest everything God wants to do for you and tests and trials are sure to come. Understand, however, that you are not Satan’s punching bag. When God sees an arrow coming at you, He won’t stop the arrow but He will put up a shield (Ephesians 6:16).

Tests and trials are an open invitation for believers to use their faith as a shield against whatever Satan brings their way. 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, “For we walk by faith and not by sight.” The prophet Isaiah wrote, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you” (Is. 43:2).

A test is nothing to fear if you are able to pass it with flying colors. With Jesus on your side, you can do just that.

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***

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