As principal cook in our household, I often carry a burn or two for my troubles. Just last Sunday when reaching for a roasting tin in the oven to baste the spuds, my forearm lightly touched the cooking rack and immediately I knew I had a burn; a minor one, yet irritating, not least because it lies where my watch sits.
Fire has properties of which we are to be cautious. Yet, without the heat generated within the oven, the pork would not have roasted, nor the crackling crackled, and so the joint would have remained inedible. So fire is dangerous but it is also essential.
Peter speaks of how our faith is tested by fire to determine the genuineness or authenticity of it. Like gold that is tested by fire, our faith is tested through our experiences of living in this world. In the fire assay method, gold is heated to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius) and melted. Any impurities are absorbed by the special container within which it’s placed, leaving only the real amount of gold. So with us, God places us in the world where we face fierce challenges – equivalent of all that heat – and after we have faced such heat, God is interested to see what emerges. That person reveals the extent to which their faith is genuine, where faith means implicit trust in God.
It can be very difficult to consider the idea of being tested by fire. Such testing may be external pressures and temptations. It may be attitudes or personality attributes that are ungodly when they are expressed. God does not test the genuineness of your faith out of brutality.
This testing is based upon the love we have for God. Parents endure amazing amounts out of love for their children. It is love that sustains us, and so we are encouraged to spend time regularly with God to deepen the love we hold.
(Dr Micha Jazz)
With many peaceful blessings