That question holds much for us to discover. You see, being tempered requires pressure, fire, and pushing to the limits. Being tempered makes us stronger, more resilient, and able to withstand greater pressures. We need to be tempered. Without this type of challenge and growth, we have the feeble knees and dangling hands mentioned in Hebrews 12. We remain lame and in need of healing.
Have you ever studied the twelfth chapter of Hebrews? It is packed with instruction, but not the type of instruction we like to hear. The first few verses are great and encouraging, but then the passage moves into a discussion about the need for God’s children to receive and endure correction.
Verse eleven comes to a conclusion saying, “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”
That is a good definition for tempering. It isn’t a comfortable exercise, but the results are beneficial. Few of us look forward to hard times that push us to greater character, strength, or faith, but this is the way of God. Our Father wants strong children. Tempering gives us that strength.
But tempers? They are different. We’ve all seen the toddler throwing a temper tantrum on the floor of the grocery store because the parent refused to buy more candy. We’ve seen the teenager storming out of a room and heard the slamming of doors and the shouts of anger. And, be honest, we also know when we could barely hold our tongue for the rage and rebellion that wanted to spew from our hearts when we were refused our way.
A temper tantrum is defiance, rebellion, and stubbornness. But back to the question, “Are you being tempered or in a temper?”
Let’s think about it this way. As we face the restrictions, confusion, and illogical patterns of life in this pandemic, what is our response? Are we allowing these things to refine us, to temper us, to give us strength? Or are we throwing tantrums? Are we speaking words of hate and anger? Are we doing things to be annoying and purposeful difficult with vengeful feelings? I hope not!
There is fruit to both tempering and tantrums. In Hebrews 12, we read that the fruit of tempering is peace and righteousness. If you read on in the chapter, you see that temper tantrums lead to rejection and regret. So, ask yourself again, “Are you being tempered or in a temper?”