Tests and Trials: The Refiner’s Fire

Without exception tests and trials come into the lives of every born-again believer. Oftentimes, they come when you least expect it, when everything seems to be going good for you. Still they come and will continue to come until we all go home to be with the Lord.

Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We’re told in 1 Peter 4:12, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” Since tests and trials will always come our way, the attitude we have when they do come and what we decide to do about them will be the deciding factor as to whether or not we live a victorious Christian life.

Tests and trials are not easy and were never meant to be. They do, however, serve a purpose. Jeremiah 9:7 (AMP) says, “Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, I will melt them by the process of affliction to remove the dross and test them; for how else should I deal with the daughters of My people?”

Psalm 66:10-12 tells us, “For You, O God, have proved us, You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net, You laid affliction on our backs. You have caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water but You brought us out to rich fulfillment.”

The Bible talks of God’s children being refined as silver and gold. This metaphor is borrowed from the technology of refining precious metals which included heating them in a crucible to see if all impurities had been removed. These metals pass repeatedly through the furnace until all the dross breaks away and floats to the top. The refiner then removes all the impurities and disposes them.

It is said that the refiner knows when the process is completed by seeing his image reflected in the precious metal purified. God is compared to a refiner of silver and gold which means He allows His people to be cast into the furnace of affliction (Isaiah 48:10) until they are purified and clearly reflect His image in their lives. Daniel 12:10a says, “Many shall be purified, made spotless and white, and be tried, smelted and refined.”

Job, a man who definitely passed through the fire when Satan brought several tests and trials into his life, tells us, “But He knows the way that I take. When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold, pure and luminous” (Job 23:10). Indeed, fire is a blessing if you know how to use it.

From one point of view, times of distress constitute a testing of God’s people as to their trust and loyalty to God. Sometimes, the best place to be is in a position where there is nothing else you can do but step back and trust God. With the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them, Moses told the people of Israel, “Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:13,14).

Passing through the fire is a sign of your commitment to God. If you run away from every test and trial that comes your way, “if you faint in the day of adversity, then your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).

Many people run away from making a commitment to God or anybody else for that matter because with it comes responsibility. In the day and age in which we now live, people do not want to be responsible for anything. They “don’t want to get involved.”

Tests and trials will bring about change in their lives and many people don’t like or want to change. They run away from change as if it were some incurable plaque. They run away from the effort, work, and pain that the changes to become Christ-like require. Daily they avoid the challenges of improving themselves with spiritual growth and are content to lay back and live the easy life.

Tests and trials will require work on their part and most people don’t like to work. They enjoy living in their comfort zone and they crave the quiet life with as little detours and distractions as possible. They like microwaves and remote control switches. They wouldn't think of getting out of their easy-chair and walking across the room to turn on the television set themselves.

These people are not workers, they are floaters. They float through life and take whatever this world throws at them. Whatever will be will be. It is these lazy people who will never gain prominence in the kingdom of God. They are satisfied at being where they’re at, wherever “that” might be, and will never rise above the level of being mediocre believers.

These are the people who back away from the heat of walking through the fire of growth. They pull back and become only “half-baked.” The Bible calls these people “lukewarm” and says that God will spew them out of His mouth (Revelations 3:16). This statement is hard but true and the sooner the decision is made to face our trials and not run away from them the better off we’ll be.

When a test or trial comes our way the first thing we should do is determine the cause of the fire. God does not ordain all fire and it’s not always the devil’s fault either. Many times we bring fire into our own lives. We cannot blame God or the devil if we are facing a financial crisis because we violated the proper use of credit cards at Christmas time. We need to accept responsibility for our circumstances because where we’re at today is a result of the decisions we've made throughout our lives.

We need to be teachable and learn from our mistakes because Satan will fight and attack you through your lack of knowledge. If we refuse to panic when the tests and trials come, if we stay connected to Jesus through the fire, then ultimately spiritual growth will come. Pain always precedes promotion.
James 1:2-4 says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Many Christians fail to grow because they never see the connection between their problems and their future dreams and victories. A crisis is a signal for you to learn and grow, not lose. You are not to shrivel up and fade away into oblivion just because times are hard. No, you stand up and fight the good fight of faith! Understand that your problem leads to your pro-motion.

A problem will introduce you to yourself and cause you to find out what you’re made of. Every obstacle will bring change into your life. You’ll either be stronger because of it or you’ll be weaker. Great leaders are those who refuse to quit and rise above their problems. All born-again believers should view the tests and trials that come their way as opportunities for their lives to be built up and molded until they become mature in the Lord.

This is how holiness comes and God Himself said, “Be holy, for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Do not let your head hang low and confess that you’re walking through the valley. In Christ there are no valley experiences. Some mountains are just higher than others.

In the 1960’s, Petula Clark had a hit song called “Don’t Give Up” where she sang “Hold on ‘til you know that you’ve won.” In the kingdom of God it’s the “holding on” that brings growth and maturity to the born-again believer. James says to “let patience have its perfect work.”

This takes time and is therefore a wrong and unprofitable expectation for one to believe their problems will simply dry up and blow away just because they've prayed the perfect prayer. The primary desire for believers should not be to live a trouble free life but rather to develop inside themselves those qualities that will mold and shape them into the very image of Christ. Surprisingly, this is the purpose hardships serve. No pain, no gain. Maturity and strength of character always comes to the believer when they respond to the tests and trials of life in the proper way.

It is faith that causes one to rise up in triumph over their troubles and to rejoice in the midst of their sufferings. Pressure, hardship, and affliction produces patience inside of you and as you put your hope in Jesus unwavering endurance will create in you the character needed to stand tall as you walk through the pitfalls of life. This in turn produces joy and the strength you receive from this spiritual fruit will give you the confidence and hope to put your faith in God “Who always leads us to triumph in Christ” (2 Cor. 2:14).

God never promised us an easy life but He did say in Jesus we could have a victorious life. Life is what you make it, whether good or bad, therefore, on the evil day when calamity strikes go to Psalm 91 and meditate therein day and night. As you do you will come to realize that like the three Hebrew children in the book of Daniel (Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego) you can be in the midst of the refiner’s fire and not be burned. And you won’t even smell like smoke. When you exit the furnace of affliction you will come out smelling like a rose.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

We hope you were blessed by what you read. Your kind comments motivate us, and please help to encourage someone by sharing.

From your friends at The Truth Media Blog. God bless you!