July 15, 2019
Our pastor preached from 1 Peter 1:6-7 yesterday with a sermon topic of “When Your Faith is Tried”. In the NIV, the verse reads: In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
I always like to read key verses in various translations because sometimes one or another will speak to me more than others. On this day, I reviewed the NLT and the CEB versions. Look at how the NLT version reads: So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Since I’ve been back to my regular day job, there hasn’t been as much time to finish out the Journey to Joy series. Make no mistake, God has still been working and revealing more about joy. Sometimes you just have to let it marinate while you meditate.
Have you ever noticed that once you make up your mind that you’re going to elevate your thinking and your perspective to look at circumstances through God’s eyes, that the trials come hard and heavy? I mean, really, it almost makes you rethink your commitment! Spending extra time in devotions ought to allow trials to bounce off you right? Not so! I felt like I hadn’t dodged one dagger before another one was headed my way. I like Stephen Segal movies. I like the way he anticipates his adversary’s next move and prepares his block. That’s how I felt. Unexpected admonition from the boss? Throw up a faith verse to block the attack. Critical email from a customer? Throw up a faith verse to block the attack. Employees cutting the fool? Throw up a faith verse to block the attack.
So this business of rejoicing and being glad in the moment can be somewhat daunting when you’re in the middle of the test or multiple tests. Doing so takes a whole different level of faith that I’m trying to work on. One of my favorite artists, Frankie Beverly sings the song “Joy and Pain”. I never really considered it before but we really can experience joy and pain at the same time. However, we know we can withstand the pain because of what is on the other side. We have to push through the obstacles to get to the promise in verse 7. The verse doesn’t say if we survive the trials and tribulations. It says when. That means the outcome has already been decided. We will win. We will persevere. And when we have come out on the other side, the Jesus that helped you block the blows will be glorified. He will be well-pleased that our confidence and faith was strong in Him, even when we didn’t feel strong ourselves.
Romans 8:18 says “For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us.” Let your joy in the Lord be the momentum you need to push through that mountain you are facing today, knowing that God is behind you cheering for you and that there are glories just over the horizon.