Peter sent an epistle to suffering Christians, and he knew they were grieved. Times of crisis likely felt all too frequent to those believers, as they read Peter’s letter. Peter addressed their trials with love, sympathy, and truth. But in that letter, he also spoke of something different, something vastly crucial.
…the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire… (1 Peter 1:7)
“Tested genuineness” is an unusual term. It feels almost rather clumsy; but it is fascinating, nonetheless. The proven reality of what actually exists. It is fascinating because every person—without even trying—possesses some sort of tested genuineness in their life. The compilation of their living adds up to the proven reality of who they really are. Besides the fascination of this, it’s also a perturbing thought, allowing reality to sink in. Your life is telling a undeniable story of who you are…a story that may or may not add up to our ideals, self-image, or deepest hopes.
In their turbulent situation, Peter encouraged them to remember something deeper than their circumstances which must have felt fearful, painful, and all too real. Think on the proven reality of your faith. What is your faith? Is it real, pure, living? These grievous trials prove it, as you endure, Peter indicated, and that is a precious, necessary thing.
Perhaps we ask ourselves those very same questions about our faith and walk with God. Is it real, living, rock-solid? God gives us crucial moments of proving, just like He gave to the suffering Christians Peter wrote to. Those crucial moments are not far distant, but right ahead of us. They are now as we live, respond to our circumstances, and make choices explaining the reality of what we actually are—the tested genuine reality of our faith. This very moment is an opportunity for proven faith! And how deeply we need our faith proved—proved through times of trial, proved through times of abundance, proved in every way!
Through yielding ourselves to God, through sacrificial worship, through joy and joyful obedience—we walk by faith right in this moment. Within that faithful obedience, the gifted faith we possess is proven, living, made perfect by God.
Peter intended a deep understanding of tested genuineness to encourage suffering believers. It can also encourage us. Taking each moment of life as crucial for tested genuineness is extremely freeing. No longer do I need to grasp tightly to my plans and ideas, fearing lest the circumstances of life should crush them. Life is truly working out and our deepest dreams are coming to fruition: God is working in us something important and beautiful, real and lasting!