In Fiery Trials
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Peter alerts Christians to not be
surprised at fiery trials (1st Peter 4:12). Most
of us react with "To be truthful I would like to avoid trials
altogether and I'll even work hard to avoid fiery trials. I
certainly don't want them suddenly dumped on me like a truck load
In the scripture before and after this
statement Peter tells us why these fiery trials are sure to come
and how we can successfully deal with them. Here are some of the
things he says:
God gives a spiritual gifts to every
"As each one has received a gift..." Verse 10a. "Gift refers to a
special ability that God bestows on us which He will empower when
we use it the way He wants.
God expects us to "employ it (this
gift) in serving one another" Verse 10b. This
means each believer is to use their spiritual ability to meet
needs of other believers. It is only when we faithfully do
this that we are "good stewards" (managers) of the
gracious gift God has given us. Verse 10c. Peter
indicates our special ability may lie anywhere between giving a
thirsty person a drink of cold water and being an impassioned,
golden-tongued preacher. Verse 11. It is immediately
following these truths that Peter alerts us not to be surprised by
It is regrettable that when believers become
the object of a "fiery trial" that most of adopt the
attitude and opinion of Job's friends. We think inwardly and
may say outwardly, "It's got to be because of some secret
sin." Peter informs us that is not the case, but
because we have launched out in using our spiritual ability the
way God intended.
It is also regrettable that many respond with
the attitude, "Well then, I just won't use my spiritual
ability to do what God wants me to do." If that is our
decision we have decided to live the rest of our life in
disobedience to God. We have also decided for a life that is
purposeless, passionless, and spiritually fruitless. We need
to consider well the decision we make.
A FIERY TRIAL FOLLOWS LAUNCHING OUT IN
This is a pattern consistently seen in the word
ABRAHAM -"the father of all
those who believe."
(Romans 4:11). In obedience to God he forsook his kindred
and his country to go to the land God commanded. What was
the first thing that happened? "...there was a
famine in the land..." Genesis 12:10.
Abraham was promised a son by God who would
have a descendant through Whom "all the families of the
earth shall be blessed." (Genesis 12:3). And
what did he experience? He and his wife, Sarah, were unable
to conceive a child for twenty-four years. When Abraham and
Sarah miraculously conceived a child at the respective ages of 99
and 89, they did have a son named Isaac. When Isaac was
barely a teenager God commanded Abraham" offer Isaac "as a
burnt offering." (Genesis 22). Abraham knew fiery
MOSES - the
deliverer and lawgiver of Israel.
At 40 years of age Moses felt Israel would understand that he was
the one God had appointed to lead them out of Egypt. They
rejected him and he was forced to flee for his life and live in
exile for 40 years. (Acts 7:22-29). Moses experienced
Israel's greatest preaching prophet.
Elijah obeyed God and rebuked King Ahab for leading Israel away
from the true living God. He predicted, "There won't
be any rain or dew until I say so." (1st Kings
17:1)...and there wasn't. God directed Elijah to hide beside
a stream called Cherith. The stream dried up. (1st
Kings 17:2-7). God then told Elijah to seek out a non-Jewish
widow north of Israel who would provide for him. What did he
find? The widow only had a handful of flour and a few drops
of cooking oil. (1st Kings 17:9-12). When Elijah
successfully called down fire from heaven there was an outward
return to the true God, but the royal family made it their focus
to put him to death. (1st Kings 18:36-46; 19:1-3)
Elijah experienced fiery trials.
JESUS - GOD
come in human flesh - (Luke 1:35)
Jesus officially began His ministry by presenting Himself to John
the Baptist to be baptized. Up to this point baptism was a
rite that symbolized cleansing from sin as a result of repentance
and faith...but Jesus had no sins to cleanse. He gave a new
meaning to baptism. It would now picture how He would
provide cleansing from sin through His death (going down into the
water), and rising again (coming forth from the water).
"And immediately the Spirit impelled Him to go out into
the wilderness...forty days being tempted by Satan..."
(Mark 1:12, 13) Jesus experienced fiery trials.
These examples are representative of scores of
people who had similar experiences recorded in the Biblical
FIERY TRIALS STRENGTHENS OUR FAITH
The purpose of military boot camp is to strengthen
soldiers so they can be victorious over the enemy...and the
tougher the anticipated enemy, the more rigorous the boot camp.
The purpose of fiery trials is to strengthen our faith so we can
be victorious over our spiritual enemies. "For
whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the
victory that has overcome the world - our faith."
1st John 5:4.
FIERY TRIALS DEVELOP PATIENCE
James informs us, "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." James 1:2-4.
James is telling us something by revelation
that we would never figure out by our reasoning: A dynamic
force is fired up when our faith is tested that produces a
patience which matures us in every aspect of our character.
FIERY TRIALS EQUIP US TO COMFORT OTHERS
This is the first spiritual truth that the Apostle Paul
announces to the Christians at Corinth in 2nd Corinthians.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ...who comforts us in all our afflictions so that we may be
able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort
with which we ourselves are comforted of God." 2nd
Corinthians 1:3, 4.
The great majority of Bible preachers can
relate how they were overwhelmed in the early days of their
ministries by those who came to them with broken hearts and
crushing burdens. Most of them can also relate that after
they had passed through similar fiery trials, they were equipped
to both empathize with and comfort those who came to them.
FIERY TRIALS PREPARE US TO SERVE OTHERS
Joseph was second only to Job in the number and intensity
of fiery trials in all of the Old Testament. He was hated by
his brothers. They sold him into slavery in spite of his
pleading with them in tears. He was bought by Potiphar at a
slave market in Egypt. He was tempted by Potiphar's wife to
be immoral and when he refused, she maliciously lied about him.
He languished and suffered in an Egyptian prison for nearly
thirteen years. "They afflicted his feet with
fetters; He himself was laid in irons". Psalm
105:18. Yet, in one day he was lifted out of prison and
became the physical savior of Egypt and many other nations through
seven years of terrible famine.
David went through similar experiences before
becoming the greatest king Israel ever had.
In the early days of my ministry a greatly used
preacher told me that if I studied the lives of great preachers I
would find that God exalted and used them to the extent He had
first allowed them to be broken. I have studied enough to be convinced
that he was right.
FIERY TRIALS PURIFY OUR FAITH
As the patriarch Job was going through fiery trials his
faith enabled him to rise above his pain, his broken heart, and
his unanswered questions. He said, "...when He has
tried me, I shall come forth as gold." Job 23:10.
We see a large lump of gold ore freshly mined.
It is placed over the fire and the mass of gold seems to get
smaller as the dross of inferior metals rises to the top. Is
the gold worth less because it appears smaller? No, it is
worth more because it is purer. Whatever faith we have is
precious. Yet, most of us are aware that our fleshly nature
usually provides abundant dross to mix with our faith. Fiery
trials purge away the dross. (See 1st Peter 1:6, 7).
FIERY TRIALS CONQUERED BY FAITH ARE AMPLY
When we are the object of a fiery trial James reminds us
to consider the last chapter of Job's life (James 5:11).
That last chapter is recorded in Job 42. We find that as
great as Job's losses were God abundantly blessed him. He
had twice as much in the end as he had in the beginning.
Some one may comment, "But Job had seven sons and three
daughters that were killed in a disaster and God only gave him
seven sons and three daughters in the end." The answer
is that Job really didn't lose the first ten. They were very
much alive and waiting for him in paradise.
We take note that Job was healed to the point he lived another 140
years. His daughters were the most beautiful in all the
land. It is also apparent that Job was a more humble man and
his confidence was much more in God than it was in himself.
Job abides as an example to all generations
that it is profitable to persevere in faith through fiery trials.
If God honors us in this life for persevering in our faith through
fiery trials just think about what He's going to do in eternity.
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scripture quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted
Copyright © 2008 Truth Helpers Inc.