I keep encountering verses about testing and proving. For example….
In this 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 your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perished even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine. 1 Peter 1:6-7
We also rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. James 1:2
Although I know nothing about Greek, Blue Letter Bible (www.blbclassic.org) allowed me to explore these verses. The Greek word dokime appeared in various forms. For the verses above, these definitions were given
1. proving, trial
2. approved, tried character
3. a proof, a specimen of tried worth
I wanted to examine in more depth, “How do we rejoice in suffering?” Peter gives us one clue stating, “In this greatly rejoice,” but in what? In 1 Peter 1:3-6, we rejoice because in God’s great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope and into an inheritance that will never spoil, fade or perish. Furthermore, we are being guarded by God’s power for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Next, we can choose to set our minds on eternal things instead of the current hardship. We can’t visualize things the ways God does. Similar to the difference in perspectives from ground level and an airplane flying at 10,000 feet, our perspective is so limited compared to God’s. In John 13:7, Jesus told his disciples, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”
Finally, we are to rest assured of the future God has promised. Paul says it so perfectly in Romans 8:18, “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Somehow, God will redeem our pain.
Challenge: Can we somehow gain a paradigm shift in our thinking from, “I have to go through a trial,” (being punished mentality) to “I am appointed to go through this trial.” We are entrusted with an opportunity to grow and for others to see Jesus. Whether God is personally teaching me a lesson on putting my life on display so others can learn something, this trial is not without purpose.
Obviously, this is all easier to write than to put in practice; however, I aim to train myself to rejoice in whatever God allows to come my way instead of wallowing in every unpleasant circumstance.