It doesn’t matter who you ask, no one likes trials.  But little do we realize, God uses them to make us stronger.  Some of you may be thinking, “Yeah, with all the trials I’ve been through lately, I’m as strong as I want to get.”  But are you?
 Think of it this way, you never see a couch potato with huge, rippling muscles, do you?  Why is that?  It’s because they are comfortable where they are, and they don’t want to deal with the work and pain it takes to build their muscles.  Sure, they may want big muscles, but they aren’t willing to discipline themselves to work out and build those muscles.  Someone studying to be a doctor had better count the cost first, because it is not only lots of hours sitting in class, but years of having little free time or sleep in order to get through their residency.  Someone building a business from nothing has to be willing to sacrifice long hours of hard work, and that hard work doesn’t stop once you become successful, but it’s a long-term commitment to stay successful.  Athletes who want to be Champions have to push themselves very hard in order to excel.  Champions aren’t born, they’re made, you know.  And there are people who want to do mighty things for God, but they aren’t willing to go through the fire.
  Yet, God says He refines us as by fire, so we may be as purest gold.  Why?  Because God isn’t satisfied with “fool’s gold” or “gold-tone plated”.  He’s the best, and therefore, He deserves only the best.  And He wants US as His own, which means in order for us to satisfy His high standards, we’re going to go through a purifying process.  Is there a way around it?  Sure, you can go your merry way and forget about pleasing God.  And you can also forget about being in the Kingdom of God, too, because nothing impure will be there.
 Isn’t there something inside of you that really longs for the best, if not for yourselves, then for your kids?  Even a lazy person desires the best things.  We were created in God’s image, so it’s only natural we should have a desire for good things, because He does.  Everything God creates is excellent, He doesn’t make any junk, though you may think so because He created mosquitoes.  For example, you won’t find a defective mosquito.  Each of them are perfectly suited for what they do.  And God wants YOU perfectly suited to do what you were created for, and that is to worship Him and have personal fellowship with Him.  But, like I said, in order to be your best for Him, sometimes you may need a little “refining” from time to time, know what I mean?
 The Apostle Paul wrote something very powerful for our consideration, in 2 Corinthians 4:7-18,   “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  For we which live are alway delivered mortal flesh.  So then death worketh in us, but life in you.  We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you.  For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the  things which are not seen are eternal.”
 This was written by a man who was beaten, jailed, persecuted from city to city, shipwrecked, stoned and left for dead, all because of his pursuit of and love for the Lord Jesus Christ and the things of God.  He deemed all of his trials a “light affliction”.  Light affliction?  Most of us complain when we have to wait too long in a checkout line in the store, for Pete’s sake!  Yet all of us would agree, the Apostle Paul was a real Champion for God.  And he was willing to do whatever it took to be someone God could trust and look upon with joy.
 How valuable to you see the Kingdom of God to be in your life?  The value you place upon the things of God will determine what you are willing to endure for your crown.  If the things of God don’t mean much to you, then you won’t be willing to suffer much for Him, nor will you be willing for Him to discipline you when He sees fit to.  But the Kingdom of God is worth whatever you have to endure to enter in.  The Lord Jesus knew that, and Paul and the other disciples did too.  I guess the question is; do YOU know it?  Some people work long hours to master a video game, or bowling, or a football game that has absolutely no eternal value, but yet they do so for an earthly reward or perhaps a trophy that sits on a shelf.  Wouldn’t your time be much better spent letting God prepare you for an eternal crown of glory?  He seems to think so.  You can start now by not complaining when things don’t exactly go your way.  Instead, look at it like weight lifting, the more resistance you can handle, the stronger you will be in the end.  God is bringing out the Champion in you!