Is Your Faith Fireproof?

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to test you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13 KJV

I have had these scriptures posted on my door for several years now. But I did not truly understand what was being said in them until last year. Having gone through my ‘wilderness’ experience while living in Charleston, being tested in every area of my life, I honestly was mad and angry with God for allowing me to suffer so greatly. I simply could not understand why I had to go through all of those things that happened while I was in Charleston–in the midst of them. But since I have been gone, it has all been making sense.

My one desire was to finish college and grad school on time. I pushed myself so hard, working full-time at my co-op the summer of 2007 and writing two papers while applying for scholarships and the like. I was not going to allow my kidney disease to keep me from meeting that deadline. The following summer after graduation, it was all worth it. The long hours at school, the loans I took out to live alone…it was all worth it. But immediately after graduation, at my 23rd birthday celebration I was in severe pain all the while smiling through it. It was this that initiated my entering my wilderness experience. By now it should be common knowledge that my kidneys began to rapidly decline in function, which resulted in my kidney transplant. And all the while I was trying to get my finances in order to buy a townhouse and live normally…or so I thought.

2009, 2010, and 2011 brought trials of every area, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. I couldn’t for the life of me understand what I had done to bring about God’s mighty hand against me, or why He allowed me to go through those things. I was angry with God. Why was I born, why into this family, why I had to suffer with these issues, with no one to talk to about it, with no one to help me, to suffer through some of the worst things–ALONE. All the while, I had these scriptures posted on my door, and I did not understand what they were saying to me. I was angry, but I kept praying for understanding. Of course, as God always does, after the tests and trials were over, I began to see and understand what He was doing.

In life, the one thing we can be assured of is that we will endure tests or ‘trials’ as referred to here. I felt so much like Job, like God what had I done to go through these things. It was after being delivered from a victim mentality and spirit of self-pity that I could see my own faults clearly and then I understood what was the purpose behind the trials. Be careful what you pray for…gosh that is the TRUTH! I prayed for God to use me and to make me more like Jesus, to fix me so that He could use me to help others and walk in my life’s calling–and as a result I had a whole lot of junk that needed to be removed from Him to be able to do those things.

I know now that it was the trials that helped to refine me (although lets be real here, I need more fixing lol). Trials expose you to God’s fire…and His fire will not burn you; instead fiery trials purify and prune you. They cause you to die to self so that everything in your life brings God the glory. It is the fire that purges you from old habits, attitudes, and behaviors. Think about it, most people can’t understand your transformation knowing you used to do this, that, and some other questionable things. It is only God’s power that can bring about a transformation in the midst of struggle and strife. It is only God that can fill those voids and make you whole.

I ask today is your faith fireproof for the following reasons:
1. Can you endure what seems like the lowest point of your life and still trust God?
2. Can you suffer through test after test after test without having any confirmation that God is speaking to you or working in your life?
3. Can you trust God enough to allow the process to be completed??? This means allowing His transformation of your life to come to completion, even if it means severing relationships, moving, and isolation.

I would like to think my faith is fireproof, but I know with every level of elevation, there are new trials and ‘new devils.’ I am trusting God to keep the temperature turned up so that I can be made more and more like Christ. So that may mean that some day I won’t do something I did everyday prior to that or I may not talk to a lifelong friend. But as long as it is a part of God’s tests and purification of me, it is worth it, knowing that I can rejoice at God’s revelation of His glory upon my life. Besides, I know my earthly parents dished out many a fiery ‘spanking’ to make me a better person…wouldn’t our Heavenly Father light the fire underneath us to make us better?

Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:17-18 NIV

Don’t Be Fooled By Your Feelings

Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
1 John 3:20

Feelings are the resulting state of consciousness associated with your emotions. For example, we feel sad, happy, or angry, although sadness, happiness, and anger are the actual emotions. If we are all honest with ourselves, we have had (or may still have) a tendency to allow our feelings to cloud our judgment and ultimately impact our decisions.

You have to realize that our feelings, although they may seem valid at the time, can and will often lead us astray. We often make emotional decisions that have no rational backing and we say things that we don’t mean based on how we are feeling at that moment or about a particular person or situation. In this lies our deception. The enemy will plant words to keep us in that negative frame of mind. For example, I’ll share my one of my own experiences.

With my last official relationship, I kept feeling like I was quitting on the relationship every time I got the urge to break up with my ex. My mind was telling me that it had to be me, that I was the problem. However, as the months went by, those same urges would resurface and my feelings would say well, he will change or it will get better…NOT. I know now that the uncertainty I felt in that relationship and in many situations since then was the Spirit trying to protect me from heartache.

I know it was God that led me to this scripture because I could not think of a scripture offhand that related to this topic. I’ll break it down as it applies here. Even if we feel guilty–if you feel like I did in that relationship; I felt guilty and that I was the problem as my mind told me–God is greater than our feelings! God is greater than your guilt, which comes from that spirit of condemnation. God is greater than your doubt, for example you doubting your achievement the successes God promised you. God is greater than your hatred, the hatred that has kept you bound in unforgiveness and oppressed by generational curses. God is greater than any emotion or feeling and thus He can provide you with clarity in the midst!! What is even more assuring here is the reminder that He is the all-knowing, omniscient God, so His greatness is compounded in that fact. God’s knowing everything is the reason you should trust Him instead of your feelings because He knows where they can lead you and oftentimes will lead you astray. God’s omniscience will protect and deliver you the deception caused by your feelings. And I must add that a key to success in this area is the continual, daily renewing of your mind (Romans 12:2). Do not allow your feelings to mislead and misguide you anymore!

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 1 Corinthians 15:57 NASB