The following is an excerpt from Carol McLeod's newest book, "Refined - finding JOY in the Fire".
In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so 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; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. 1 Peter 1:6–8
The strategic and powerful advice of Peter resounds through the centuries with an impact that will forever change the temperature of every fire you ever find yourself confronting.
Peter challenges believers not only to “rejoice” but to “greatly rejoice”!
This word “greatly” is a word that is peculiar to Christianity and was never used in the secular Greek. As Christians, we are the only ones who experience the thrill and fulfillment of “greatly” rejoicing.
As twenty-first-century believers, we are the ones who singularly benefit from the command to “greatly” rejoice.
As people who have been called to walk through the fire and not even smell like smoke, we are the only ones who are capable of benefiting from the choice to “greatly” rejoice!
When a man or woman of God determines to “greatly” rejoice in the middle of suffering, this one influential determinant is able to lower the temperature of any Satan-set fire. This type of enthusiastic worship, in which Peter has called us to participate, remains unhindered and unrestricted by what is happening in the circumstances of our lives.
Rather than pitifully asking, “Why me?!” . . . we are a people who worship.
Rather than whining and weeping . . . we are a people who worship.
Rather than curl up in a fetal position and suck our emotional thumbs . . . we are a people who worship!
The power of worship is that it places no importance or value on self or on self-comfort, but it places a singular focus on God, the Father of all that is good. Fires and the trials that fan them will not last forever, but our great worship should last into eternity.
So 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.
When you embrace the challenge of Peter and elect to “greatly rejoice,” it is then that the proof of your faith, which is the most valuable commodity that you own, will give you an even greater reason to rejoice!
Gold is the most valuable earthly commodity that exists; everything else that is judged to be of any value is compared to the current price of gold. Peter clearly states that your faith is more precious than gold to Jesus, even when gold is at its highest man-set price!
Fire has the capacity of testing your faith, purifying your faith, and escalating the value of your faith. The fire will always rid your faith of self and make it more beautiful with the testing. Gold is not an eternal commodity, but your glorious faith will last forever!
And though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.
When all that you see around you are the fast-moving and destructive flames . . . what you love is Him!
When all you feel is the ferocious heat of a fire out of control . . . what you believe is Him!
When the furnace is heated seven times hotter than it seems possible . . . you greatly rejoice!
We do not rejoice because of the fire or because of the trials, but we continue to greatly rejoice because of Him.
It is only because of Him that we are able to rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory! The word “inexpressible,” which can also be translated “indescribable,” is used no other time in the New Testament. This word is endeavoring to portray a joy so deep and so profound that words do not hold the power to express it.
I know a pastor whose church in Florida holds a zip code in one of the most affluent regions in America. The people who attend his church have every material benefit they could ever desire and yet they still struggle with discouragement, purpose, and loneliness. This pastor decided to take a mission trip to Kenya just to escape for a short period of time the futility of pastoring a church of a materialistic mind-set. The people in Kenya have been through wars and famines, and many have lost members of their family, including children. However, the believers in Kenya are filled with joy inexpressible and full of glory. In spite of hunger and death, they sing their way through every day of their lives. These unspoiled, pure believers share the Word of God with one another while tears of joy are dripping down their faces. These Christians don’t even know that they are living in the fire of great affliction, so pure are their hearts and so great is their joy. These men and women who live a world away from our lives of comfort and ease have discovered one of the greatest secrets imaginable this side of Heaven: Joy does not come from things or events . . . joy comes from Him!
The reason that we worship while in the fire is not because we have it all . . . we worship because we have Him in spite of it all.
We worship not because we have it all together . . . we worship because we have Him who holds it all together.
We worship not because of what we are able to see in our circumstances . . . we worship because we have Him whom we do not see.
Carol's newest book, "Refined - finding JOY in the FIRE" will be released on September 15, 2015. Be among the FIRST to receive a copy by pre-ordering the book below. All pre-orders will receive EXCLUSIVE FREE gifts as our way of saying, thank you!