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Innocent faith is easily broken
Our faith has a refining process. Faith that has never endured a fiery trial isn’t going to be very strong.
Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but the Lord tests the heart. (Proverbs 17:3)
Refining metals is a fascinating process. It’s interesting to watch how a chunk of ugly ore transforms into a beautiful, shining brick of metal. During the uber-hot refining process, all of the impurities in the material rise to the top so the refiner can skim them off. This has to be done repeatedly to remove as many of the impurities as possible.
It takes repetitious, extreme heat and a lot of time, neither of which are particularly comforting things. But it’s the only way to purify the metal.
That’s why it’s so important to understand that our faith has a refining process too. Faith that has never endured a fiery trial isn’t going to be very strong.
True faith isn’t something you’re born with. Many times I think we confuse child-like faith for child-like innocence and idealism. Innocence and faith aren’t the same thing.
When you’re a child, you don’t know how life works. You haven’t lived enough to be disappointed and betrayed. You haven’t seen enough hardship or suffering to understand how it changes the way you think. As a result, children are more trusting. They rely on authority figures because—well—who else are they going to trust?
Adults are different. Adults have first-hand experience with disappointment and loss and failure and grief, sometimes as a direct result of our own choices. The older you get, the more darkness you experience, and the harder it becomes to reconcile our own failures with the child-like faith God calls us to have.
That’s why our faith needs to be tested. That’s why we have to go through struggles and trials so God can prove Himself faithful to us. Before our faith has been tested (refine, purified), it will remain innocent. And innocent faith is easily broken.
When you’ve lived through hard times and seen God’s faithfulness in spite of your failures, you know where you can stand. When you understand just how broken you are and that God loves you anyway, you know who you can trust.
Being an adult may mean you have experience with darkness, but following Jesus means you can still hold on to hope in spite of it because you’ve seen what He can do. That isn’t innocent faith; that’s refined faith.
Questions for Reflection
How would you define the difference between child-like faith and innocence?
Why do you think trials and difficulty bring out the best (or the worst) in us?
How are some ways your faith has been tested this year?
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