by Lauren Dyck
We see in 1 Peter 1:7 that we are to “rejoice” in our “various kinds” of trials so that “the tested genuineness of your faith… may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The trials in our lives test our faith, they prove the genuineness of our faith which is “more precious than gold that perishes.”
Gold has always been considered a precious commodity containing great value; our faith, is considered “more precious” than even gold, because gold too, like all material things, “perishes.” Our faith has eternal implications, it does not fade or diminish, it is placed in the eternal promises of God and we are “being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
Like gold, our faith is tested by fire; literal fire tests gold and other precious metals, and metaphorical fire (trials, persecutions, sufferings, griefs, etc.) tests our faith:
Psalm 66:10 “For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried.”
Proverbs 17:3 “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”
James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
We see in James 1:2-4, suffering promotes endurance and perfection of character, and the apostle Paul also reiterates this in Romans 5:3-4 where we see that we are to “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
There is great value in suffering for the Christian. Too often we seek to avoid all hardships, or when we find ourselves in the midst of them, we seek to be freed from whatever may have befallen us. Rather, we should look to our eternal promises as a means to endure through trials while entrusting our souls to our faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19). But we can also find great encouragement and hope in the fact that we do not suffer alone, for Christ also suffered and provided and example for us (1 Peter 2:21-25).
Our faith is valuable, and God wants to refine it. Just as gold is refined by fire that burns away impurities, likewise, suffering and affliction refines our faith, which is far more precious than gold.
Our trials are temporary and ultimately have a greater purpose. This does not diminish our grief when trials come; it simply reminds us that we have an eternal hope to look forward to amidst our temporary afflictions.
(This is an excerpt taken from an article I wrote for Grace Bible Theological Seminary. You can read the complete article HERE.)