Are you being tested in your faith? Do you pass tests of your faith well? Or do you often fail those tests? Do you view those tests as being part of the body of Christ? Do you rejoice in being tested? Do you remind yourself that suffering through those tests will bring joy?
Most of us do not like tests. In fact, some of us do not perform well on written tests for school or work. Being tested in our mental or physical abilities can be difficult, and we do not like difficulties. Yet, difficulties can help us grow and mature throughout our life.
The Apostle Peter calls these tests fiery ordeals. Some of them may very well be extremely tough. They may make us want to give up, stop in our tracks, reverse our direction. That is exactly what Satan wants us to do. But if we lean on God to help us go through them, we come out of them stronger, having a deeper faith, and experiencing more joy.
Perhaps one way for us to view those tests is to see them as a challenge. Some of us like challenges. Whether it is the challenge of two-a-day football practices, learning a new language, or rehabilitating after an injury. We have a desire to continue working to get through those challenges. Why? We know there is a reward waiting on the other side of them.
There is also a reward when we suffer through the fiery ordeals Peter talks about. That reward is being overjoyed when Christ returns. That may seem to be a long way off for us, but it will happen in the blink of an eye. The older I get, the faster time flies by. It seems like just yesterday I was traveling back and forth to California for work. Yet, it has been more than three years.
Suffering through tests of our faith, trusting in God to get us through them, is for our benefit. It is also for the glory of God. Our faith is strengthened and deepened. The light of Jesus shines through us brighter. We become an example for others to follow. It is not easy, but it is well worth it.
I pray we all suffer through our tests by looking to the joy to come. I pray we lean on God to help us through those tests. I pray each one of us will view our tests as a challenge that will strengthen us. Suffer as Christ suffered. Lean on God. Trust God to get you through the tests. Look to the reward. Suffer for the glory of God. Be an example for others.
1 Peter 4:12-13 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.