Those who are eager to bring praise, glory and honour to Christ when He comes will be careful to make sure that when their faith is tested, it is genuine (1Pe.1:7). But it is generally difficult for human beings to live just by faith. We tend to look for some sense of God’s presence with us or some sign of His approval as we go through trials. The opposite of living by faith is to walk by sight! Peter talks about believing in Christ, loving Him and rejoicing greatly even though we cannot see Him (v.8). Many talk about seeing visions, etc. But actually very few have ‘seen’ Jesus. It would be impossible to have any airs about us and we shall be simple and ordinary people once we have seen Him.
The proof of our faith is that we can believe and rejoice even when we are passing through the heat of the trials. Trials become hotter for us when we seek to be faithful and cannot see any mark of approval from Jesus. When we seek to be faithful and see that others who are unfaithful are still happy without problems, our trials are more difficult to bear. The proof of our faith then is that we continue to believe, and be faithful even when no one can see us. Our faith is proved to be genuine when we continue to be faithful even when we see others in the same church being careless with sin and going towards worldliness. It takes faith to be different from them and not to judge them at the same time. There will be praise, glory and honour when Jesus comes, if we have remained faithful and denied ourselves in secret just to keep our sharpness for the Lord.
God has given us a wonderful promise that we will only have to face trials which others are also going through, and that we would never be tested beyond our ability (1Co.10:13). But we tend to imagine that we should not have any trials because we are God’s children! It is because God allows us to face difficulties that some of our prayers for escaping from problems do not get answered. But we can be sure that the devil is not going to be able to come upon us suddenly with a terrible trial that is too much for us.
Unbelievers, and believers who act selfishly, unrighteously and in disobedience to God cannot expect that they would not be tested beyond their ability. Those who are greedy for money will surely walk into the devil’s traps which God never planned for them! (1Ti.6:9,10). We must keep ourselves in the place where God’s grace can be upon us.
Many people are willing to set things right when someone points out their sins to them. But the surprising thing is that they never seem to be able to hear directly from God! This is because they are actually craving after other things and are too busy to listen to God (1Co.10:6). God cannot be fooled, and we have to reap what we sow (Ga.6:7). It is worth being faithful in secret before God so that there will be glory and honour when Jesus comes again.