“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”
Peter’s denial of Jesus to the servant girl was a Defining Moment, and a bitter failure of faithfulness and courage. Simon Peter’s fear-driven reaction was the result of following the common path, being caught in the gravity of a big ego, and falling prey to default-driven decisions and actions.
But as he trusted Jesus and followed the path, Peter grew stronger in faith and courage. He was transformed. In response to many Defining Moments, he began to make discipline-driven decisions. He submitted his ego to the lordship Christ. Peter’s identity was no longer in himself or his position or his image. His identity was in Christ.
Defining Moments are situations in life when you are presented with an opportunity to respond with faith or react with fear. A Defining Moment is a decision point. It is a testing point.
You are not defined by the situations you experience; rather, you are defined by how you choose to respond. It is a core principle that I share with athletic teams: Genetics shape you. Circumstances influence you. Your choices define you.
The message of scripture is that the Lord uses the situations of life—in particular challenging situations—as a refining process. That is why the Proverb above refers to “the crucible.” We are refined in the crucible of everyday life. We get stronger as we tenaciously, persistently, and relentlessly trust God and act on the truth of His word in the midst of the events and circumstances of a fallen world.
Peter fully understood that the refining process is essential to the path of transformation. Near the end of his ministry, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Peter wrote these words about the future salvation and present challenges that all believers will experience.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 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.” (1 Peter 1.6-7)
The Lord calls us to trust and obey Him in response to life’s Defining Moments. That is how we grow in faith and courage, even (and especially) in the midst of adversity.