Adapted by our team from Pastor Louie’s Message, Walking to Macon.
Wherever you are currently positioned, as a believer, you are in a position to have powerful influence.
Imagine being an astronaut for a second.
No, seriously, imagine it.
What are you picturing?
Is every bone in your body rattling as the ignition sequence ignites and you’re catapulted into space? Or maybe you’re smiling at the thought of hopping off the ladder and onto the surface of the moon, leaving your footprints behind for all time. Zero gravity meals, flying upside down, catching floating water in your mouth; these are the kinds of things we all dream about when we picture ourselves as astronauts. What we don’t usually imagine is the heat shield.
The heat shield is the beautiful wall between you and 3,500 degrees of inferno as a result of the friction created upon reentry. Without it, no man or woman who has been to space could have ever survived coming back to this planet at 17,500 mph. Think about that, the heat shield is the whole reason there is a magnificent splash down at the end of reentry instead of a tragic incineration at the end of the friction of the journey.
The truth is you are most likely not an astronaut, but you are on a journey—and there will be friction. God has begun a miraculous work in each of us, one He promises to perfect until the last day. In the meantime, we are going to travel through some tumultuous trials, but we will be protected by the heat shield—our faith in His power.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10
Today it is imperative that you know WHO you are. God wants to remind you that you are chosen, you are Holy, you are God’s. You have to know who you are, in order to know WHY you are.
This is the equation of every believer. You once were not, but now you are. You didn’t, but now you do. You were without, but now you’re with. Because of what God has done, you may now declare His praise.
Take a praise break.
But while you’re doing so, make sure you look at the full context that Peter is trying to convey to us:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.
Great so far…
This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
Thank God for the heat shield, we’re ready for the splashdown…
In all this, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
The book of 1 Peter was written about 30 years after the death of Jesus, and as the message of Jesus spread throughout the world it very quickly encountered cultures, leaders and nations where it was not welcome.
The friction was growing. This is the context in which this letter was written, a context of trial and suffering. It’s almost rhetorical to ask, but haven’t we all felt our own trials this year? Haven’t we all suffered in one way or another? Even the opening of Peter’s letter lets us know that we are in need of grace to make it through each day, and peace to cling to when the friction starts to heat up.
But why? Why do people suffer, and more specifically, why do people who are God’s special possession suffer?
These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
You see God has placed each of us in neighborhoods, businesses, and schools amidst a lost and dying world, and that means friction. Why did He put us there if He knew it would be difficult? Because His mission is to save the whole world. Jesus suffered for the sake of the world, and we as Jesus-followers will share in that suffering.
Because going through the fire refines us. It sheds things that aren’t needed, it steels our resolve as we discover our faith is real and sets us ablaze; shining for people to see.
The trials will come so that the genuineness of your faith will result in praise and honor to God. People who have come through the fire, and know there will be a reward in Heaven—these are people who are able to be used powerfully by God.
So ask yourself; if on the other side of the fire is your family knowing Jesus, wouldn’t you do it?
If on the other side of the fire is that co-worker you’ve been praying for finally knowing Jesus, wouldn’t you do it?
If on the other side of the fire is your husband or wife finally coming face to face with Jesus, wouldn’t it be worth it?
If on the other side of the trial was Heaven, what wouldn’t you walk through to get there?
This year has been difficult, yes, but this year has also been and still is, your chance to shine in the middle of all of it so that the people around you see Jesus. It’s your chance to free your mind from worry and fear, to believe that there is a plan in motion. Trust that He who began a good work in you is faithful to bring it to completion. Walk through the fire wrapped in the heatshield of your faith awaiting the splashdown that is guaranteed into the ocean of eternity where Jesus is waiting for you as the prize.