The Purpose of Faith's Refining Fire
by Travis Penner

I am convinced that if there is any trans-administrational truth, it is this; Faith is made perfect in trial. For most of us in the Body, the first day that was grasp the faith that Father has given us, it is a mountain top experience. There is no high far greater than to realize our Father IS a loving God and also just in all his ways. It seems as though we can see from horizon to horizon, clearly, for the first time in our lives we are no longer confounded by the mystic mists of religious confabulation, where every contradiction is somehow proof of a transcendent God which we cannot fathom.

When Father gives us his faith, we finally see that his paths ARE straight, and his ways can be understood for those whom he shares his secrets to.

Inevitably, all who discover the mountaintop, must eventually make their way into the valley where this newly given Faith must now be tested.

James 1:2-4

2 All joy deem it, my brethren, whenever you should be falling into various trials,
3 knowing that the testing of your faith is producing endurance.
4 Now let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and unimpaired, lacking in nothing.

It is difficult to comprehend joy when trials afflict us. Be it the loss of a loved one, or even their betrayal, the loss of a job, the death of a child, the violence of life, and on it goes. There is no end to trial in this dark eon. It is in these trials that our faith receives it's deepest testing; are we willing to trust in a loving God that each of these valleys we travel are intended to refine our faith? To teach us even deeper truths about Him? To bring Glory to Him?

Just as gold must be refined in the fires of a crucible, it is necessary for our faith to be so refined in the crucible of life's testing. Every time that gold is put in the fire for refining, the impurities rise to the surface called dross. This dross must scooped off. Every time this process is done, the gold becomes purer and more costly. (1 Peter 1:6-7)

It is for this we rejoice. If we are not tested, then we cannot know our faith. Where then is our confidence? How shall we know it's worth unless it's tested? It is for our benefit that we receive these trials. If your faith has not been tested - how do you know it's real?

Hebrews 11:1

1 Now faith is an assumption of what is being expected, a conviction concerning matters which are not being observed;

One thing is certain, the world questions our faith. To be as blunt as possible, we have no proof that whatever we believe is real. The Bible is our only anchor and lighthouse in this dark eon. Yet besides that, there is no apparent reason for us to believe that can be sensed by the 5 human senses. We are convicted that what God has spoken is true, and this is our expectation.

Our conviction becomes even more sure, as trials assault us our faith assures us to stay the course and continue to embrace and put forth the gospel which Paul revealed to us.

It is this confidence that buoys us far beyond those of this present age, both religious and unbelieving. That ALL is of God (2 Corinthians 5:18). Whether we think trials fall on us because of our own foolishness, or inflicted upon us by the world's caprice, we are steadfast in that God is supremely in control and is the absolute originator of each trial. Strangely, this gives us solace as we realize He has not lost control.

Let us be comforted by these words of Paul who remind us that our savior himself also was tested in his faith when he was upon this earth;

Hebrews 12:1-2

1 Surely, in consequence, then, we also, having so vast a cloud of witnesses encompassing us, putting off every impediment and the popular sin, may be racing with endurance the contest lying before us,
2 looking off to the Inaugurator and Perfecter of faith, Jesus, Who, for the joy lying before Him, endures a cross, despising the shame, besides is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

And while within these trials, let us comfort and remind each other that the glories which are to come, vastly outweigh the suffering we endure today. In fact, as Paul wrote, they are not even worthy to compare to the Eons to come.

2 Thess 1:3-12

3 We ought to be thanking God always concerning you, brethren, according as it is meet; seeing that your faith is flourishing and the love of each one of you all for one another is increasing,
4 so that we ourselves glory in you in the ecclesias of God, for your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions with which you are bearing --
5 a display of the just judging of God, to deem you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering also,
6 if so be that it is just of God to repay affliction to those afflicting you,
7 and to you who are being afflicted, ease, with us, at the unveiling of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful messengers,
8 in flaming fire, dealing out vengeance to those who are not acquainted with God and those who are not obeying the evangel of our Lord Jesus Christ --
9 who shall incur the justice of eonian extermination from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His strength --
10 whenever He may be coming to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all who believe (seeing that our testimony to you was believed) in that day.
11 For which we are always praying also concerning you, that our God should be counting you worthy of the calling, and should be fulfilling every delight of goodness and work of faith in power,
12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in accord with the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

With love, and every encouragement in Christ Jesus your brother,

Travis Penner

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