By Marni Montanez
1 Peter 4:12
New Living Translation (NLT)
12. Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.
We are in a real battle with a real enemy and living in a world that is against all that we represent. The devil is the ruler of the world and is referred to as our enemy because that is what he is.
As Christians, our time on earth is about learning and growing and becoming all that God has called us to be. Part of growing manifests when we go through difficulties, which the bible refers to as fiery trials. Fiery trials are stepping stones that strengthen our walk with God. In these times our spiritual muscles are built up and by the end of these fiery trials we are able to carry things we couldn’t carry before and things that are more of a burden or oppression in our life is surrendered to God. This kind of growth cannot take place without these kinds of trials. We need to look at these fiery trails as a positive in our lives. Our attitude about the trial may sometimes dictate the length of the trial if God is dealing with our attitude. Only God knows when it’s time for that trial to end. But most assuredly it will change our hearts. It is in these trials where we must maintain a positive attitude and refrain from complaining or grumbling to God or others. These are made of the Holy Spirit fire and that’s why they are as intense as the roar of a fire.
Spiritually, it burns away any excess we may have; things in our character or things we depend on instead of on God. He needs to rid us of these things that get in the way of our relationship with Him. The fire in these trials is the purging process to eliminate the dross or the worthless things in our lives. Once we are free of these self-imposed burdens God can fill us with more of Himself and what He wants for us.
There is a quote that reminds me of this verse. It has ministered to me in my times of deepest pain or fiery trials.
To courageously straighten again after our hearts have been bowed by defeat, disappointment and suffering, is the supreme test of character.
Yes we are to go through fiery trials, and it’s tough and it’s painful. God is saying that this is to be a normal part of our lives, because we need to be purged of things and God has to deal with things in us. I have come to realize in this saying that there is no shame in being defeated or being disappointed or suffering. It is part of our spiritual walk and needs to be embraced as part of our life.
Challenge: Don’t grumble or complain when you are going through hard times, instead ask God what you are to learn from it.
The purpose of this series is to encourage people to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God: Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God tells us through Micah (6:8), "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." And we know from Revelation 21:4 that there will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain, or death. Thus, Christian living requires us to set the standards of these conditions here on earth for our fellow human beings, and for the other animals, as a witness to the rest of the world. To do otherwise is not Christian.