Devotional Thought for Today
“Rejoice in Your Suffering”
“Then Eleazar the priest said to the men in the army who had gone to battle: “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded Moses: 22 only the gold, the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin, and the lead, 23 everything that can stand the fire, you shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean. Nevertheless, it shall also be purified with the water for impurity. And whatever cannot stand the fire, you shall pass through the water. 24 You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean. And afterward you may come into the camp.”
1 Peter 1:6-7
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Fire is such a unique and natural element: When uncontrolled it can create great devastation, such as wild-fires and destruction of buildings; but when controlled, it creates warmth on cold nights, heat to cook our favorite dishes, and purifies precious metals for jewelry.
In this passage, the Israelites had just defeated the Midianites and collected the plunder. Those who had killed any person, the Lord commanded that they must purify themselves and everything they own. Things that could not withstand fire—such as garments and materials made of wood—had to be purified in water. However, all the precious metals had to be purified through fire to burn away the impurities. Once they went through this process, the soldiers would be able to enter the camp.
This passage reminds me of Peter’s exhortation about rejoicing in our trials. Like these precious metals, God longs for our faith to be pure like Jesus; therefore, He uses the trials that we encounter to burn away the impurities in our faith. Maybe you are encountering suffering because God is trying to teach you how to become more compassionate like Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Maybe you have to deal with an annoying coworker because He is trying to teach you how to love your enemies. Or, you may be going through a season where it is difficult to find a job, and God is teaching you to trust in Him. Peter encourages us not to grow weary but to rejoice because our faith is becoming more genuine. Isn’t that reassuring?
In the middle of suffering, we might be tempted to think that God doesn’t care about us, He is punishing us, or that He might not even be real. May we be reminded that God is walking with us. In fact, it’s possible that He is using this difficulty to shape us to be more like Jesus. So then, let us rejoice in our suffering!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You that You do not leave us as we are, but You desire for us to become more genuine in our faith. Lord, You sanctify us in different ways, especially through suffering. And in my suffering, I know the enemy is going to lie to me that God has abandoned me. Lord, remind me of this truth: that You are using it to make me better. Help me to rejoice in my suffering. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 28
Lunch Break Study
Read James 1:2-4: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Questions to Consider
- What is the significance of the word “when”?
- What happens when we let steadfastness have its full effect?
- How do you view trials and tribulations?
- The word “when” reminds us that we will face trials, and it should not be a shock to us. In fact, James reminds us that we will have different trials: it could be persecution for faith, spiritual attack, emotional attack, or physical ailment. In these circumstances, James reminds us to rejoice!
- When we persevere in these trials, we become mature Christians that lack nothing.
- Personal reflection.
Trials are God’s way of shaping us to become more like Jesus. Instead of acting defeated during these times, New Testament authors command us to rejoice in our sufferings. Are you currently going through difficulties? This evening, invite the Holy Spirit to transform the way we view our suffering.