"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 1:6-7).
Proven faith brings joy and confidence.
Although some Christians fear that trials and persecutions can only rob them of their joy, Peter taught just the opposite. In fact, he said that joy comes not in spite of trouble but because of trouble. That's because it's easy to lose your joy if you doubt your salvation, but when your faith has been tested and proven to be genuine, doubts will disappear and you'll have joy and assurance.
Every trial you face is designed to test and perfect your faith, and God carefully controls their parameters to accomplish that purpose. Verse 6 specifies that they are temporary, necessary, distressing, and multi-faceted, but they should never diminish your joy. He won't allow you to undergo more than you can bear (1 Cor. 10:13).
Peter used the analogy of an assayer or goldsmith to illustrate the purging process that produces proven faith (v. 7). The fire symbolizes trials and the gold symbolizes your faith. Just as the refiner's fire burns away the dross and leaves only pure gold, so God purges you through trials to reveal the purity of your faith.
That's an appropriate analogy because gold was the most precious of metals and the standard for all monetary transactions. But as valuable as gold is, proven faith is infinitely more precious. Gold is temporal and perishable; proven faith is eternal.
So don't fear trials when they come your way. Welcome them as opportunities to prove that your faith is real. Be encouraged that "after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (1 Pet. 5:10).
Suggestions for Prayer
If you are currently going through a time of testing, ask God for the grace and wisdom to pass the test. Thank Him in advance for the joy and confidence you'll gain when the test is over.
For Further Study
Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, noting the trials Paul endured for His faith in Christ.
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.