Fiery Trials and Their Purpose
(1 Pet.1:5-7) "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial (testing) of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
(1 Pet. 4:12-13) "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
In the above scriptures we are assured that our faith will be tried with fire. We are also instructed to rejoice whenever we encounter various trials and as we are partakers of Christ's sufferings. The bible also tells us that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus SHALL SUFFER PERSECUTION." (2 Tim.3:12) Contrary to popular opinion and false doctrine that teaches otherwise, the Christian's life is filled with fiery trials and persecutions, even more so today as we see the coming of the Lord growing closer each day. The Christians who will suffer the most persecution are those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus and those who are forsaking their own will for the will and purpose of God, who is "at work in us both to will and to do of HIS GOOD PLEASURE." (Phil. 2:13) The problem in the church today is that many are "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power (of godliness) thereof. FROM SUCH TURN AWAY!" (2 Tim. 3:4-5)
In many churches today, we are taught to be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. There are many ministers of the gospel who are teaching a selfish (milk) gospel, rather than preparing the Bride of Christ for His coming. Those who teach this selfish gospel, according to Heb. 5:13, are unskillful in the Word of righteousness, and are babes in their understanding. If we would truly heed the warning of the Holy Spirit, and turn away from such selfish teaching, we would then be able to receive the "meat" of the Word, and become teachers ourselves.
Ps. 105:17-19: "He (God) sent a man before them (Israel), even Joseph who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came (to pass), THE WORD OF THE LORD TRIED (REFINED) HIM!" In studying Joseph's life, we find that after the Lord spoke to him in dreams telling him of God's plan for his future, that he suffered many years of fiery trials and persecutions. His faith (faithfulness) was being tested and he was being refined through the heat of the fiery trials. Joseph was faithful to God in every circumstance and his attitude was one of rejoicing and obedience to the heavenly vision that had been given to him. Because of his right attitude toward God and His Word, the Word of the Lord (prophecy) was fulfilled in his life. After Joseph had PATIENTLY ENDURED the trial of his faith, he was rewarded with the promise.
Since most of us today don't understand that there is a trying of our faith, we are disheartened when trials come our way. Rather than cooperate with God's purpose and the fulfillment of His Word that has been given to us, we delay and even sometimes abort that which He has birthed in us. Fiery trials are a necessary ingredient in our maturing process into the image of Christ, and without them we will continue to be babes in Christ. This is especially alarming if we are a minister of the Word. So much emphasis is placed on the benefits that God provides, that we have neglected the maturity that He provides as well. I have learned through experience that obedience to the Word will bring forth the blessings that are promised to us. As we hear and obey the Word, (not simply confessing it, as some teach), the blessings that are promised will "come upon us and overtake us." "DEAD FAITH" is "faith without works", according to James 2:17, 20, and 26.
Zech.13: 7:9: "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, (Jesus), and against the man that is my fellow, (close friend and companion), saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd (Jesus), and the sheep shall be scattered: (see also Mk. 14:27 & 50), and I will turn my hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third part shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, the Lord is my God." It seems obvious from the scriptures that it is God's will to try and refine His people.
(Acts 16:23-26) "And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: who having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas PRAYED AND SANG PRAISES TO GOD, and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bands were loosed."
We too can experience the delivering power of God in our lives if we will follow Paul and Silas' example of prayer and praise in the midst of persecution. Remember their circumstance; they had been beaten with many stripes, (their bodies were bloody and raw), and their feet were in the stocks; a very uncomfortable position. Most of us have not yet suffered to that degree. Surely we can pray and sing praises to God in whatever situation we are presently in, and can expect that He will work whatever miracles that are needed so that we can continue in His work.
Study the life of Moses, Joseph, David, Paul, and any other godly leaders that were called by God, and see if fiery trials were a part of their training for the ministry. Write out some of the specific trials that these men of God endured, and see if you have experienced any of these same things. List those trials that you can relate to.