Semantics, maybe. But true none the less.
Last Wednesday night I had the privilege to sit at church and be preached to by a young 20 year old man that I have known since before his birthday. His mother and I were pregnant at the same time- my oldest, her third born. He has always been a good kid, but now he is a man of God that can preach!
His message was about Rack, Shack and Benny out of Daniel 3. (Not their real names... they have been changed
Those boys were obedient to God, and still they faced the trial of CHOOSING to obey God at the RISK of their life. They chose to OBEY. Their obedience to God DIRECTLY caused a trial in their life. They were put in a fiery furnace fully meant to and completely able to consume them. To burn them up!
Every one of us as the opportunity to KNOW God. In knowing God, we then have the choice... will we obey? When we obey, we may (more likely in this day and age as well!) suffer persecution for righteousness. (And get a crown, by the way!)
Will we till obey?! We are given the opportunity to PROVE our LOVE to God.
"I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love." II Corinthians 8:8
If we - because of obedience to God, suffer a fiery trial, we will certainly experience some heat, but the only thing that may be burned are our bindings, or the dross that makes the Gold and Silver of our works for Christ less pure. Let the wrong motives and selfish desires be purified in the fire, and then give God glory in the knowledge that you are being made into the image of our dear Savior!
So do I want to Burn Out for Christ? No, I don't think I do.
Do I however want to be placed into the Lord's burning fire of testing and trial? No, not in my flesh I don't. But that is where the verses of me taking up my cross daily and dying to what my flesh wants come in.
Do I want to be as pure Gold and Silver at the coming of my Savior or at His calling me home? YES!
So let the trials come, because they will whether I ask for them or not!
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:" I Peter 4:12
Trials WILL Come! But every trial will only bring God's perfect intended result if I submit, surrender and obey.
"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. " Ephesians 6:16