Topic: 1 Peter 1:3 - 7
Our tested faith is more precious than perishable gold. The more coins we spend, the fewer we have, but our assurance in God never runs out as we use it. Men are often impoverished by the quest for gold, but faith can only enrich a person. And while money may temporarily appease one's greed, trust in Jesus forever satisfies the soul.
Gold doesn't begin its life as the pure, shiny material we see in jewelry. Instead, miners drag out hunks of dirty metal with bits of black running throughout. Before a piece of gold can become a beautiful necklace or a perfectly shaped coin, it must be refined by fire and crafted with tools. In the same way, God sends trials into Christians' lives to shape His children. His ultimate goal is to transform each believer into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
God uses many tools in His transforming work - disappointment, broken relationships, illness, and financial problems are a few. He always chooses the device that will build our faith in the area He is focused upon. Unlike inanimate gold, we have a choice to accept or reject His work. We can whine, resist, and give up without making any changes. But let this be fair warning: God will return repeatedly to a faith area that needs His attention until we finally submit. He loves us too much to leave us in our imperfect condition.
Our faith is precious to God. Though His work is sometimes painful, He will never challenge us beyond what we can stand. (1 Corinthians 10:13) And through the refining fire and shaping process, the Master Craftsman holds us closely.