âFor those whom HeÂ foreknew, He alsoÂ predestinedÂ to becomeÂ conformed to the image of His Sonâ (Ro 8:29). God knew who we were goingÂ to be and what we were going to do before we even existed. He deeply knew us and still chose to die for us and make a way for us to live with Him forever. This truth is so amazing and never gets old! Not only that, but He also decided that HeÂ wanted us to be conformed to the image of His Son. We like to remember that God is at work for us (and He is!), but sometimes we forget that He wants to also, and even more so, work in us. Today weâre going to look atÂ ScriptureÂ and the world around us and remember the opportunities we have to become more like Jesus.
1 Peter 1:3-7
God has shown us grace by giving us the new birth and giving us anÂ inheritance in heaven. While Peter begins this passage by praising God for what He has given us, he continues by writing about the suffering that the church is experiencing because of persecution. Though it is a dark time forÂ the church, Peter points to the hardships as an opportunity for growthÂ andÂ advancement of the faith.
Living hope (1Pe 1:3-5; Ro 8:22-25)
The apostle Peter praises the Father for causing us to be born again (âborn up, from low to highâ), but he doesnât end there. He goes on to explain that we have not only been born again but have been born intoÂ two incredible blessings: a living hope and an eternal inheritance.
This living hope and eternalÂ inheritance are set aside for those that have trusted Christ and are living for Him. Our hope is real; it is powerful, and it is secure. The Father will not allow anyone or anything to steal thisÂ inheritance from us and will finish what He started in us (Php 1:6).
Tried and true (1Pe 1:6-7)
Peter spoke of our future and hope in verses 3-5, and it sounds so good! Though we have cause for rejoicing, letâs pause with Peter and look at our current situation as he writes verse 6.
Just like gold, our faith goes through fire, is tested, is tempted, and we are pressed in by situations and people. What makes it through and comes out of the other side of these difficult experiences is pure, refined and strong. Only when our faith is tested can we be sure that it is proven. How we react in the process will determine the outcome.
â¢ Proverbs 27:21-22
Having a faith that is pure and strong can only happen if it is tested and put through intense heat. According to Peter these kinds of pressures and trials are a part of life and may even be a necessity of living life in this fallen world. We cannot run away from them, but we can choose to put our roots down deep in Him and let the heat and pressure refine us. Following this logic can bring up a challenging question for us; letâs look at it!
Does God test us?
This question can cause all kinds of theological problems for people trying to learn more about God and His goodness.Â If He wants me to grow, wouldnât He put me through bad situations?Â If He is good and kind, would He make bad things happen to me? These are difficult questions. The Bible would say the answer is both yes and no.
â¢ Exodus 16:1-5
â¢ James 1:13
God tested Israel by bringing them into the wilderness and asking them to rely on Him for their provision. He was not causing starvation and poverty, but was instead seeking a people that would follow and trust Him. As James says, God does not tempt (same word as trial -Â âpierceâ) us because His goal is not to break us, but to grow us.
A word from James (Jas 1:2-4)
âConsider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounterÂ various trials, knowing thatÂ the testing of yourÂ faith produces endurance. And let endurance haveÂ itsÂ perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.â
Keeping the end in mind
1 Peter 1:13
âTherefore, prepare your minds for action, keep soberÂ in spirit, fix yourÂ hopeÂ completely on theÂ grace to be brought to you atÂ the revelation of Jesus Christ.â
âFor I consider that the sufferings of this present timeÂ are not worthy to be compared with theÂ glory that is to be revealed to us.â
âAnd we know that God causesÂ all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who areÂ called according toÂ HisÂ purpose.Â For those whom HeÂ foreknew, He alsoÂ predestinedÂ to becomeÂ conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be theÂ firstborn among many brethren; and these whom HeÂ predestined, He alsoÂ called; and these whom He called, He alsoÂ justified; and these whom He justified, He alsoÂ glorified.â
Letâs be aÂ people that choose to grow! A people that choose to take joy in the refining process as we become more like Jesus!
1) What is one difficult situation in your past that caused you to grow in your faith?
2) What is one situation in your life right now that is difficult? Do you see ways that the situation could make youÂ more like Jesus?
3) How can we look at every tough experience as an opportunity to grow in our faith?