1 Pet. 1:6-9
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, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.
The testing of one’s faith does not wait to begin. My transition from sinner to saint was a much more drastic and sudden change than I could have imagined. There was nothing gradual about it. That instant redirection meant that my life had to be rebuilt from the ground up. With that change came many crossroads in quick succession at which I had to choose whether my new faith was real. A number of people in my life challenged me on my new beliefs and my new way of thinking almost from day one, and the pressure was on not to fold before I even got started. That was the beginning of years of fire which will continue as long as we remain in this order of things.
Refinement by fire is not a new concept for us. We have heard the example of the precious metal which must be melted and scorched to be made pure. The process of walking out one’s salvation with fear and trembling is a period of continual refinement by fire’s purification. God will allow and bring challenges to our faith so that we may build our faithfulness to him and our trust in his word. It is through these times of fire that we come to learn whether we have faith in the one true God or a god of our own making. That is when we learn whether our desire truly is to follow him and not some deity of our invention. It is a refinement which comes through humility in submission to the truth.
If we are to continue to see growth in our faith, we must be able to find joy in the pain of the refining fire. The pain is not from the fire itself but from the changes in us required to learn how to submit to it without doubt. We must welcome this process of purification because it is necessary for our sanctification. We cannot grow without growing pains. We cannot be made faithful without the burning away of our doubts and wrong beliefs, the things which hinder our faith. Let the refining fire come and prove our faith to be genuine and true. Father, thank You for helping us build and make genuine our faith through your perfect spiritual refinement.