Hi. My name is Kelly. I used to write here. Often. And I used to love it. And some of you enjoyed it, too. But in January, 2015, I started working on my master’s and all but totally stopped writing here. And I missed it. A lot. And some of you missed it, too. Fast forward 3 years, and my degree is complete. I had a lot of fun. I learned a lot of things. But now I don’t know what to do with myself. So here is me shaking off the dust and seeing if I remember how to write…
Yesterday, I sat down and read through the whole book of 1 Peter to get the bird’s eye view of the thing before we start dissecting it next week in the Sunday School class I attend. As I read through the first chapter, a sermon started welling up in me down around verse 7. It seemed particularly fitting for a friend of mine grieving a death in the family, so I tapped my thoughts out with my thumbs and sent them as a text message. Today, I sat down and turned that sermon/text into a post here.
(I don’t know why I think you care about all that back story, but I’m just going to go with it serves as a “practical application” of what follows. My preaching professors would not be happy with the application coming before the explanation, so it looks like those three years away were for naught. Oh well.)
Now then, in Peter’s first letter to early Jewish Christians, his primary goal was to encourage them to live godly lives as they endured terrible persecution for being Christians. This was back in the time of Nero, that Roman emperor who outlawed Christianity and thought it fun to light Christians on fire in order to illuminate his palace gardens at night. Most of the references Peter makes to suffering, then, are on par with levels of persecution we contemporary westerners know nothing about.
However, in 1 Peter 1:6, Peter expands his thoughts to include “all kinds of trials that produce grief.” And that is something you and I can relate to. The next verse reads, “[All kinds of trials that produce grief] have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed,” (1 Peter 1:7).
Trials produce grief for two purposes.
First, trials that produce grief have come so that your faith in God is proven genuine both to yourself and to those around you. It is when you are in the midst of trials that you and others will see whether or not you really trust God’s decisions to allow/cause your trials and whether or not you have faith in Him to perfectly handle the results/consequences of your trials. As you trust Him in the middle of trials, other believers will be encouraged to do the same, and unbelievers will see Jesus in you. Your attitude will pique their curiosity in Jesus.
Second, trials that produce grief have come so that praise, glory, and honor will be the results when Jesus Christ is revealed.
This may be Peter’s way of saying YOU–the under-goers of the trials–will receive praise, glory, and honor from Jesus when He returns. In other words, Jesus will give you an, “Atta boy!” or “Atta girl!” for persevering and handling trials faithfully.
An alternate take on this part of the verse is that Jesus will get praise, honor, and glory when He returns as a result of your handling trials well. Why? Because the lost will get saved when they observe believers going through trials with unwavering faith. You are experiencing these specific trials of grief so lost people can see how you handle things with the power of Christ, and then the Spirit will draw them unto salvation. Maybe not today. But at some point before Christ returns, and, as a result, there will be even more people worshiping Christ when He returns than there would’ve been if these trials had never happened to you.
No matter which interpretation is correct (perhaps they both are), it is important for you to remember this: you don’t save people. God saves people.
So while you are undergoing “all kinds of trials that produce grief,” just focus on walking with Him. Receive comfort from Him. Dialogue with Him. Tell others what He is teaching you. Describe to others what the Bible says about trials (which necessarily requires you to learn what the Bible says about trials…).
Make it your goal to stay close to Jesus in your grief-inducing trials, and your faith will be evident to others.
I really loved this sermon. Keep writing, this was at a time I needed it.
Sweet! Thanks, Michelle!
Hi Kelly. I subscribed to your blog only yesterday when I found you on a Google search for a problem that I had that I just didn’t know what to do abou and was at my wits end. I thought I may find a podcast of a sermon or something that would help. Well, it directed me to your blog about what to do if you are unhappy and want to leave your Church! Boy, was that a wake up call!! Thank you for your honesty! I did get an answer but maybe not the one I was expecting. Anyway, I signed up to your blog and pow, here comes another timely word as I am going through a really bad trial at the moment but God is reminding me that it is for a reason. In my daily bible study, my time worshipping with the songs that come up on my playlist and now as I sit to go through my emails and get directed to your blog. Thank you for your enlightenment and timely advice. God Bless you and please, please keep blogging! 🙂 x
I was reminded that our trials build Christ like character in us. The trails are to strength our faith on the journey. I have found great wisdom in the things I have gone through. One thing is for sure I know that I know what I believe as God has taught me through some of the storms and victories of my life. The word of God is so powerful in our lives. Thank you for the reminder and I am glad you are writing again. May this be the greatest year of your writing journey so far.
Thank-you very much for those words of encouragement, and if this is how well the Spirit uses your writing gifts after 3 years of rest, I can’t wait to read what you have to say once He blows the dust off.God Bless.
Wow, thank you so much for that encouragement. Humbled.