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We rejoice in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. – Romans 5:3-5
The fifth chapter of Romans has wonderful teaching on being justified by faith. It also teaches us that faith In Christ will take us to a place of suffering with Christ. It is of this suffering that Paul writes, “We rejoice in our sufferings because we know” what suffering produces.
Suffering gives us perseverance which builds character and gives us hope. And hope does not disappoint us because we know God has put his Spirit into our hearts and the fruit of the Spirit is faithfulness. Can you see the correlation? Faith leads us to Christ; we share in his suffering; our faith enables us to stand fast which builds character; character then gives us hope for the future.
It is this hope for the future which gives us the motivation to be faithful. I have noticed that people who have no hope are not faithful to anything. They have no reason to persevere. Life for them is just suffering without the faith. Life for them is a series of sad events which lead to further loss of hope. How sad it is for people who do not believe in a power that is greater than themselves.
What is even more sad is to see people who have claimed a faith in Christ and who fall back when the going gets rough. Their faith is not strong enough to endure suffering and they surrender their hope for something less than adequate.
No one promised us that the road to heaven would be a path of ease, but we were promised that if we walk this path we will be given the ability to stand against anything that comes against us. Hope gives us the courage to faithfully endure the trials of this journey of faith.
Prayer, Medition and Reflection:
Prayer: Lord, I am often frustrated with trials that seem so unnecessary. Grant me the faithfulness necessary to endure. Amen.
Principle: Enduring suffering produces perseverance and perseverance produces character. Character gives us faithfulness and faithfulness produces hope - it's a cycle.
Affirmation: I am willing to endure suffering, persecution, and adversity because I know that it is a part of the cycle of faith which builds faithfulness in me.
Reflection: To suffer without hope is miserable, but to suffer because of our hope strengthens our hope. Think about how faith and hope give you the ability to stand firm in the face of opposition. Remember: Hope gives us the courage to faithfully endure trials on this journey of faith.
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