“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. But rejoice insofar you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” 1 Pet. 4:12-13 ESV
Dear man of God, I would want you to remember the sacred words recorded in 2 Tim. 2:3, where the Word of God commanded us to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ…
The man whom the Lord will use, the man who will last in the anointing, the man who will be known in heaven and be a terror to hell must be ready to endure hardship, trials, tribulations, persecution and whatever else the malice of hell throws at us…
“But you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions [and] sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium [and] at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me! And indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Tim. 3:10 – 12 NASB
Too often, we want to walk in power; the type of power the men of God of old walked in. We want a taste of spiritual authority. We want to exercise the power of the world to come. But unfortunately, we are unwilling to go through the disciplines, trials and bitter experiences that made the men of old and shaped their lives such that they become genuine men of God in their own generations. I fear we have embraced a false gospel that carries no cross, suffers no shame and experiences no fierce trial or persecutions.
As our text reads in 1 Pet. 4:12, trials should not be a cause for alarm to the Christian, let alone the man of God. In fact, we read that: “…the fiery trials when it comes upon you to test you…”
Thus, it is clear that the purpose of trial is for the genuineness of the faith of the man of God to be tested to see if he really believes what he claims to believe. There is so much empty confession of faith today that is without a corresponding action of faith.
“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10 NASB
If you will ever be useful to God, if you will ever fit what He wants to do, if you will ever be a vessel unto honour, you must be chosen from a furnace of affliction. Look at all the men of old, none of them were shielded from the fiery troubles; challenges and trials that God used to purge and mould them.
To refine means to reduce precious metals to a pure state by the means of fire.
In refining, the silver or gold is put into fire so hot that it literally melts the metal and then all impurities that have clung so inseparably to the precious metal (impurities like alloy, dross and tin) floats to the surface of the pure gold or silver, such that a separation becomes easy.
In the same way, it is in the furnace of affliction that weaknesses, weights, sins and character traits that weaken our walk with God, float to the surface. Our true colour shows itself when we are in trouble.
“But who will be able to endure it when He comes? Who will be able to stand and face Him when He appears? For He will be like a blazing fire that refines metal or like a strong soap that whitens clothes. He will sit and judge like a refiner of silver, watching closely as the dross is burned away. He will purify the Levite, refining them like gold or silver, so that they may once again offer acceptable sacrifices to the Lord.” Mal. 3:2-3 NLT (First Edition)
Someone once asked a silversmith how will he know if the silver he is refining has now become pure? He replied, “When I see my own image reflecting upon it.”
It is the same, O man of God. You will be continually tried until you look like the Lord Jesus Christ in all things.