Refining Fire (rejoicing in our trials)
Not only can you rejoice but you ought to rejoice: you are commanded to rejoice. Always. Unconditionally. No circumstance forfeits the commandment to rejoice. Rejoice always, and again, rejoice.
1 Peter 1:7-9 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
Matthew 16:24 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
The cross was an instrument of death. The life of a Christian is perilous. We must be willing to sacrifice all "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26)
Acts 14:22 "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that WE MUST THROUGH MUCH TRIBULATION enter into the kingdom of God."
Anything that draws us closer to God, anything that makes us more like Christ should not be despised.
Philippians 3:8-11 "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: THAT I MAY KNOW HIM, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being MADE CONFORMABLE UNTO HIS DEATH; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead."
God brings us broken on our knees before Him not that we might find a human remedy to pull us back up but that we might look to Christ and rely completely on His grace. No human can heal your soul.
Trouble is blessed to us by God. Thank Him for it. Praise Him in it.
Only Christ can see you through. Nothing in and of yourself will bring you to the place where you need to be. Christ's strength, Christ's grace, Christ's blood, Christ's replacement in sacrifice, Christ's love, Christ's glory. It is not of you at all.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13 "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Philippians 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
Psalm 30:6-7 "And in my prosperity I said, I shall never be moved. Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong: thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled."
God hides His face for a time to teach us just how much we need Him. We cannot live without Him.
All we have is of Him. Do not take pride in your earthly (human) possessions. Thank Him for His blessings, but do not pride in them. Take joy in your salvation. Keep your eyes on Christ lest you sink in a pool of sin and evil (see Matthew 14:29-33). Christ is the only way.
Romans 5:3-5 "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
He is going to supply the materials of calling us forth. He will refine the gold. He will purify and make clean, He will purge out the dross with refining fire. Thank Him for that.