IT ISN’T STRANGE

1Pe 4:12-14  “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.”

Do you ever feel like the universe is out to get you? I remember as a child hearing the adage “can’t win for losing.” We sometimes think that life is treating us in an unfair manner. It feels like the more we try to do good the more we are ridiculed for it. Sometimes it seems we just move from one trial to the next. Yet, Peter called us “beloved.”

Thayer gives the definition of the Greek word translated as beloved (agapetos) as meaning “beloved, esteemed, dear, favourite, worthy of love.” If we are honest with ourselves before God, we know that we are not worthy of love within ourselves. How amazing to realize that Christ has made us worthy of love! Facing fiery trials is not something strange: it is proof that we are beloved.  Our fiery trials are comparable to a refiner’s fire. Just as the refiner applies fire to a precious metal to burn away impurities, so our faith is tried to remove the doubt and fear that lingers in our lives. If we are truly able to pray that God would “help our unbelief,” we are asking Him to purify, or refine, our faith. We should not think it strange when God hears and answers our prayers.

Instead, we should feel a great depth of joy (Strong’s says “to be calmly happy). When we face these trials, the scripture says we are being partakers in the sufferings of Jesus. In other words, we have been counted worthy to have a full fellowship with Him. When we face our trials with rejoicing, then we experience that same refinement of confidence in God that the apostles enjoyed when they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame (public beating) for His name (Act 5:41). The promise of the scripture is that if we are partakers of His sufferings, we will have even greater joy when the truth of His glory is manifested.

According to God’s word, we are extremely blest (Strong’s definition for “happy”) when we suffer defamation for the name of Jesus. There is a reason why we are extremely blessed by this reproach: the spirit of glory and of God refreshes (rests upon) us. Beloved, have you ever known any greater joy than what we experience when we have times of refreshing in Him? Every trial fades into insignificance when we are called into His holy presence! Though He is spoken evil of by unrighteous men, how wonderful that He is glorified on our part.

May we find joy in the refining of our faith and give glory to God!

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