This week, Pastor Chris continued in our study on 1 Peter. In this passage, Peter was writing to Christians who had experienced two years of intense persecution from the emperor Nero. Chris has heard faith defined in an acronym: “forsaking all, I trust Him.” We can know the quality of our faith when we’re faced with trial and difficulty. We must have faith that lives on the promises of God and not the circumstances in front of us. We are called to live expecting good things from the good Father. In order to do this, we must learn to expect the fire, rejoice in it, evaluate its’ cause, and entrust it to God.
Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:6 (ESV)
6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
“Faith is acting like God is telling the truth.” Tony Evans
4 attitudes to adopt in order to have faith in the fire:
- Expect the Fire – It is essential to remember that you are loved. At the essence of the fiery trial is the love of the Father. When you know you’re beloved, you trust that you are safe and secure in the midst of the flames. Fiery trials can be tests of faith unto sharpening and strengthening. Christ experienced trial, therefore we will too.
1 Peter 4:12 (ESV)
12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
- Rejoice in It – To rejoice in suffering is a sign of maturity. Only mature believers will find joy in seasons of stretching and strengthening. The more you have to walk through fire, the more fruit you will bear. The less you make this world your home, the less you will struggle to have joy this side of Heaven.
1 Peter 4:13–14 (ESV)
13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Acts 5:41 (ESV)
41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
Hebrews 10:34 (ESV)
34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.
1 Peter 4:15–16 (ESV)
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
John 17:26 (ESV)
26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 15:9 (ESV)
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Hebrews 12:2 (ESV)
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
- Evaluate its Cause – The refining fire can hit our lives, exposing and removing things not of the Lord. In trial, we will always have a choice to partner with God or despise His correction. God has His divine purposes in chiseling specific things out of our lives. Our primary goal should be to seek His heart for what He is doing and to honor Him in our response.
1 Peter 4:17–18 (ESV)
17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
- Entrust it to God – Entrust your soul to the faithful Creator. When we suffer on His behalf, He will use it for our good and for His glory. Know that nothing is wasted in the life of faith.
1 Peter 4:19 (ESV)
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
- What are some purposes God may have for bringing trials into our lives?
- Pastor Chris said we cannot put our faith in our five senses. Have you ever struggled to respond to a trial in faith when your senses (or circumstances) told you to fear?
- What is refinement? Why do Christians need to be refined?
- Which of the 4 attitudes do you find it most difficult to adopt (expecting the fire, rejoicing in the fire, evaluating the cause of fire, or entrusting the fire to God)? How can you begin to actively grow in this area?
- Take the temperature of your faith today. Are you struggling to trust in the Lord at all? If there is something specific, repent of your lack of faith and find forgiveness and refreshment at the Lord’s feet today.
- Take inventory of the fruit in your life. Are you marked by faith, peace, and joy? Or are you marked by fear, anxiety, and complaining? Ask the Lord to increase your faith in a significant way and journal any changes you see this week.
- Pastor Chris said one of the best things to do while in trial is to look outward (rather than inward). Text CCC to 56170 and take the Matthew 25 Challenge this week. Let thankfulness for God and intercession for others grow in your heart.