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Fiery Trials Develop Character October 13, 2010

Posted by theronwatson in Uncategorized.
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1 Peter 4:12-19
Who is your mentor? Do you have one? You should. Who do you ask for advice? To whom do you turn for direction and guidance? Why do you go to this person? Chances are they are someone you look up to, someone you admire. Chances are he/she is a person of wisdom, character and understanding. How did they gain these qualities? Character is only obtained in enduring the fiery trials. We enter into them with fear, but emerge on the other side more perfected. We are refined in our trials. In them we are purified like gold. Romans 5, tells us, “Suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.” In order to become a person of character we must endure the fiery trials.
David called trials “the valley of the shadow of death.” In them we should fear no evil because God is with us. I look at trials like speed bumps in a parking lot. They are there to slow us down and make us pay attention. I think of trials as a long, twisty, windy road full of bumps and problems that we have never encountered before. Not only is the way unfamiliar, there is ‘fog’ and we cannot see the way out. So, we plod along on this unfamiliar road hoping nothing more happens. Fortunately, people come along who have been down this road before. They have endured this trial, this life lesson already. Because we cannot see forward in time we cannot see the end of the trial. They are able to look back in time over their lives and remember being where we are now; on a long and winding road full of obstacles covered in heavy fog. They come to lead us out. The best way to drive down an unfamiliar road in the fog is to follow someone out. Just
knowing you are not alone is comforting. If that person is familiar with the road, it is that much more comforting. If they are someone you trust; it helps even more. Seeing their “taillights” ahead keeps us focused and aware of changes and curves in the road. Such is the case for trials. This is why it is so important to have a mentor. One day we may become someone else’s mentor. How will we become people of character without fiery trials? Our trials reveal and develop our character.
We as Christians will endure suffering and trials. God has told us in His Word that we should expect them. Just because a person becomes a Christian does not mean the difficulties of life go away. Otherwise, people would follow Christ out of a sense of convenience rather than a sense of commitment. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise is either deceived or trying to sell you something. We should not be surprised when we endure trials. The Greek word in this passage translated “surprised” is in the present tense. In other words, we should not continue to be surprised over and over again when we endure trials. They build our faith, purify us for holiness and help us identify with Christ.
God is moving us through our sufferings to a higher plane that apart from our sufferings we would never have reached. Suffering brings us closer to God. We learn to trust God. We learn that God is capable of bringing us through our trials. God is always in control and wants what’s best for us. Romans 8:28, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes.” He is treating us like His children. Romans 8:17, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” Hebrews 12:7,8 reads, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.” We will suffer if only as a result of living in this world. It is the world that killed Jesus. Should we as His followers expect any different? We will suffer but only to become better.

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