Thursday, September 9, 2010

Faith Refined and Strengthened Through the Trials of Life

These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 
–I Peter 1:7 

We have all probably heard the old saying in regards to exercise about “no pain no gain.”  That illustration is perfectly applied to faith.  When we go through difficult times our faith is strengthened.  It can be a painful process and one which might test the absolute limits of what we can endure.  However, when our focus is upon Christ and not ourselves or our problems, then we will be strengthened in ways we would not have imagined possible.  No problem we face is too big for God, and no stress we encounter is too overwhelming for the Lord to bring us through.  When we are faithful and hold fast to the promise of God that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6), then we grow and are strengthened in the process, regardless of how painful it seems at the time.  

Faith in the Lord is a precious commodity in our lives.  Through faith we become victors over the challenges of life – not mere survivors.  So often our thinking is that if we can just get through this we will be all right.  The Lord will bring us through, but that’s not all; we will be empowered to rise up in victorious faith that stands firm and doesn’t give up.  When we take on the power of Christ in us we become more than survivors; we are transformed into over-comers.
The Scripture teaches that this refining process of our faith is for our benefit that we grow stronger, have vibrant faith, and the abundant life in the midst of life’s struggles, but the process has another purpose: That our lives reflect to those around us the power of Christ in us.  Followers of Jesus Christ have been given a bad name in recent years.  The insincerity and extremism of some has caused many to believe we are all that way.  When the love of Jesus shines through, the true meaning of faith in Christ is demonstrated; Jesus came to bring salvation, life, love, and peace.  Following Jesus has never been about hatred and bitterness.

Are you going through difficult time right now?  Do you believe that your faith is being tested?  In all likelihood it is.  If our faith is never put to the test then we would never grow.  Learn to trust the Lord one day at a time.  Do not grow bitter, discouraged, or overwhelmed.  The love of Christ will overcome through faith in Him. 

Walk forward and let the light of Christ shine through.  You are growing, and will continue to do so.  Joy, peace, and grace are waiting to be shared in the midst of whatever you are suffering.  Hold fast to Christ and stand firm!

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