“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.” (1 Peter 4:12)
The only certainty about life is that everything is uncertain. We can live with the illusion of control, but so much of our life is completely out of our control. In this passage we are told to expect adversity. We can’t anticipate every challenging situation that we might face, but we can prepare ourselves for how we can make it through any challenging situation. This comes by being aware of two things.
First, we are loved by God. This passage starts by addressing believers in Jesus as “beloved.” This is how God views us. In Jesus, He has set his affection upon us and proven his love by taking our place on the cross. No matter what you go through, God is with you, because God loves you.
Second, we have a purpose from God. This passage tells us that adversity tests us. To test something doesn’t mean to give an exam to see if we will pass. The word for testing here means to put a metal in the fire to burn away any impurities and test it for what is truly strong. God has a purpose for our lives to burn away all the things that are displeasing to him and to make us stronger in our faith in him. We never just go through adversity, by God’s grace, we grow through adversity.
There is always a purpose. When we know our identity and are assured of our purpose, then while we can’t control the challenges we go through, we can change our mindset about how we go through them.
Question: What is more real to you right now: your challenges or your identity and purpose in Christ?
Challenge: Encourage someone you know who is going through a hard time. If they are a believer, encourage them in the love of God. If they are not a believer, share with them about the love of God.
Prayer: God, no matter what I go through, help me to look to you. By your Holy Spirit assure me of your love for me in Christ and your purpose for me in growing in my faith in Christ.
Jeff Boettcher, Chapel Leader -- Philadelphia Phillies