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Trials: Heat to Test our Sincerity

September 16, 2013

sincere – from the Latin “Sine Cera”: “without wax”

Quality Roman potters would stamp “Sine Cera” on their pottery to distinguish it from lower quality pottery, in which wax would be used to fill in and hide cracks and imperfections from the buyer. Interestingly, this wax often served fine in filling the cracks, and the cheaper pots functioned well – until they were asked to hold hot liquid.

When the heat came in to these poor quality pots, the wax would melt, revealing the cracks which had always been there, showing their true nature. I am not the first to see the analogy this represents to our own lives and faith, and how it shows us the true light in which to view the trials we sometimes face…

Trials are really blessings that show us our true standing before God.

We may not realize that our faith is weak (not sincere) if that heat never comes. We can walk through our daily lives enjoying the common grace God has bestowed on our nation, “happy and satisfied” with our lives, and never realize our error in deriving joy from our circumstances – not our relationship with God.

There are myriad testimonies of Christians who have been saved for eternity after being brought to their knees for a season in their earthly lives, whether or not they considered themselves “already saved” before such an event. …whether or not the cracks in their faith were filled in with wax… If they were not sincere before such a time in their lives, we cannot doubt that these believers look back on their trial as an enormous blessing, thankful that the heat did come, to melt away the wax and show those cracks clearly.

On the other hand, once God has given us a faith that is more sincere, there is little in our lives that so clearly shows God’s power than His presence in our hearts during a time of trial. When we have peace and confidence in the midst of a storm, we are feeling His presence directly. When after our strength and morale falters, we feel our spirits lifted, it is He who has picked us up. When our thoughts turn to how best to shine God’s light to those around us in testimony during the midst of our trial, we are blessed to feel God’s work in our lives so intensely. Even if the trial continues or even takes our life, we know we are His.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. — James 1:2-4

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