That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: I Peter 1:7
My son David bought me a gorgeous yellow purse at a quaint little purse shop in St. Augustine, FL. Yellow is my favorite color and I really do love the purse but it was a little outside of my bling comfort zone! But of course I carried it and I began to notice whenEVER I carried this purse that someone would shout out, “What a great bag!” In fact, I rarely carried the beautiful yellow purse without someone telling me what a great bag it was. So I loved the purse because I love the praise of men, but mostly I love the fact that my son picked it up for me just because.
There is just one problem with the purse. It is super heavy.
Even without anything in it! With just the bare necessities, it is still, oh so heavy. In the long run, I could not justify the chiropractic visits for the neck and back pain just so I could carry that yellow bag. It was weighing me down. I had to lay it aside.
I came to realize that it might be a great bag and others may say, “I wish I had her bag!!” Oh, but they don’t know the heaviness. This is kind of like looking at someone else's life. We look and we say “Boy, they have a great life,” but we do not know the heavy trials they endure.
Heaviness is mentioned in both the Old and New Testament in relation to such things as broken hearts, sorrow, grief, disappointment, sickness, shame, phony happiness, lost family and loved ones, complaining, problems in the church, and so much more.
The Bible talks about a number of things which are heavy and that, like my purse, we should lay aside. Sin (Psalm 38:4), anger (Proverbs 27:3) and worry (Proverbs 12:25) are heavy. These heavy weights will keep us from running the race for Christ and accomplishing God’s purpose for our lives. These particular heavy burdens should be discarded and never picked up again.
But there are some heavy weights that we are called to bear. Ultimately these weights are for training and will not only bring us joy at the return of Christ but will be used by God for His glory.
Our passage in 1 Peter talks about the trying or testing of our faith. We find that this testing involves losing. Using gold as the example, we are reminded that when gold is tried by fire it is cleansed of its impurities. Everything that is not gold is stripped away and burned in the fire. In like manner, God uses heavy trials and testings in our life to strip away the impurities of our heart and behind our motives. Due to its eternal nature, this testing of our faith makes for a more precious and purifying loss than that of gold when it is refined and purified.
For that very reason these trials are not without joy and rejoicing. I was encouraged when I saw that the verses on heaviness, temptations and trials in 1 Peter, were surrounded but verses on joy and rejoicing.
During our short season of heaviness and loss we can remember to:
Rejoice in the hope of the resurrection. (v 3)
Rejoice in our incorruptible inheritance.(v 4)
Rejoice in the power of God to keep us. (v 5)
Rejoice and hope in the coming of Jesus Christ. (vs 7-8)
Some trials are so heavy we cannot even talk about them. I have experienced such trials, unable to tell a soul about the heaviness of my heart. But these very trials, that we cannot talk about, can bring a purification that gives us unspeakable joy!
In the end the heavy testing is for our good and for His glory. As children of God, we can certainly rejoice in that!
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Mark 8:35
“Lose” from the Greek word “Apollymi” means “to destroy fully.” It is translated “perisheth” in 1 Peter 1:7, our verse for today.