Romans 5:3-5 - And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
How do you respond in your time of trial? When reflecting on my life and the whole "refined and refreshed" mantra, I've realized that the key from going from a place of refinement or trial. is how one responds to the trial.
Paul, write that he and other were celebratory in their tribulation and Christ Jesus embraced the cross. Furthermore, we hear of the trials and persecution faced by the early century church. For example, in the early 2nd century a roman governor, Pliny the Younger, wrote to the emperor of Rome, Trajan, concerning Christians and advice on how to deal with them. It's clear in the letter that the trials for Christians was severe.
Pilny wrote, "I asked them whether they were Christians or not? If they confessed that they were Christians, I asked them again, and a third time, intermixing threatenings with the questions. If they persevered in their confession, I ordered them to be executed; for I did not doubt but, let their confession be of any sort whatsoever, this positiveness and inflexible obstinacy deserved to be punished."
We are not in such a trial, but if these disciples of Christ Jesus followed after Him, then their response to such persecution was key in their ultimate reward of refreshment, being with God.
So the questions then turns to us in this modern day. Trials are still prevalent and our response to the trial will determine our trajectory. Will you respond in a constructive way which will lead to you growing and becoming better? Or will your response be deconstructive and you become bitter?
Because as we see that the process of refinement is to lead to hope or faith. If your time of refinement is not leading to greater faith or hope, then have you responded well to the trial?
Well, how are you to respond? How are we to go about ensuring that times of refinement are constructive?
Here are some quick ways to respond during a trial:
Rejoice - Continue to praise God (Romans 12:12)
Patience - Persevere during such a time, because it won't last long (Romans 12:12
Pray - Be in constant prayer during these times. (Romans 12:12)
Trust - Even in the most difficult of times, trusting in the LORD, for who He is, is imperative. Do not waver. (Psalm 62.8)
Talk - Pour out your heart to God and tell him everything you are feeling during this time. Don't keep your feelings in, pouring out your heart shows that you trust God to hear and listen. (Psalm 62:8)
Learn - What can you learn about yourself or the situation during this time. Ask God to show you what it is that you can learn. (Proverbs 1:5)
Letter from Pilny the Younger: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/primary/pliny.html