The closer we walk in obedience to our Lord, the more our Lord will allow our enemy to attack us in various ways in order to bring us to places of repentance and spiritual growth.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and unfading, having been kept in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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. 1 Peter 1:3-7 (LSB)
I doubt that I am unique in my dread of fiery trials. I have been a Christian long enough to know, however, that despite what men such as Joel Osteen preach and teach, testing by fire is the way God perfects our faith unto completion to prepare us to be before Him in glory. I have been rereading Grace Abounding To the Chief of Sinners by John Bunyan. He was a mighty warrior of the Christian faith, but he was made so by the great craftsman of our faith, our Lord, through the fires of temptation and tests that left a legacy of Biblical Truth for the body of Christ that is timeless. He lived in the 1600’s yet we are still reading of how God took a man who confesses all through this wonderful book about how wicked his heart is; but through his repentance and spiritual growth through fiery trials and temptations, God matured him and used him for His glory.
The second time through this book has been wonderful for me. I read it several years ago, but then I did not get the detail that God is giving me this time. Perhaps it is because of some of my own tests and trials this year that God is showing me or confirming in me the purpose of the physical and mental testing that I must deal with daily. When Bunyan first began preaching he was in the midst of a terrible trial of his faith. He was under continual attack from our enemy who was continually condemning him for having “sold Jesus.” The accusations were that he was not really a Christian and was outside of God’s grace because his sins were too great. However, when he would climb the stairs to the pulpit of the church in Bedford, England the enemy would leave him. Complete peace and joy would return as he preached the gospel. Lives were changed and he became quite well known as one whose preaching was touched by the Holy Spirit. However, he also confessed that as he would climb down those same stairs after preaching, the enemy would return to accuse him. This continued for over two years.