3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Paul goes on to say that not only do trials develop our Endurance, but endurance develops in us strength of:
Character is who we are when nobody is looking. The Bible tells us that God searches our hearts to determine the level of character that has been developed in us. How a Believer deals with the circumstances of their life speaks of their character. That is why we can celebrate in the midst of our crisis because while adversity doesn’t necessarily make character, it does reveal it. Crisis in our lives is a crossroads where we get to choose either the path of character or that of compromise. Jesus is our ultimate example of character and every time we choose character, we grow more into the image of Christ. Character is more than just talk, anyone can say they have integrity but action is the true indicator, as Proverbs 20:11 says, “The character of even a child can be known by the way he acts whether what he does is pure and right.” “Your walk talks and your talk talks but your walk talks louder than your talk talks. The truth is your character determines your direction because your character is your compass. Christ-like character will always steer you to serve, but a corrupt character will steer you into sin. So let me ask you is your rudder set for service or sin, are you running after righteousness or ruin? Today we desperately need to guard our character because as our compass it provides direction to our drive. Many people today are driving dangerously because they are driving without direction as a result of corrupt character. While talent is a gift character is a choice. Now there are a lot of things in life that we have no control over. We don’t get to pick our parents, our upbringing, our talents, or even our IQ but we do get to choose our character. One of the most missed truths is that not only do we get to choose our character we get to create it every time we make choices. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” Proverbs 1:28-30 says, “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD, They would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke.” Proverbs 3:31 “Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.” What about you, will you choose the easy way or the right way? Because the reality is that people will never rise above the limitations of their character. Have you ever seen extremely talented and gifted people fall apart when they reach a certain level of success? The reason for this phenomenon is character. Success without a solid foundation of character will always crumble and fail. True character is revealed in the midst of challenges, just like Josephs when he resisting Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39:7-12. Our English word “Tribulation” comes from the Latin word “Tribulum” this is important to note because when Paul wrote that we can rejoice in our tribulations he used a word picture that his readers would be able to relate to. A Tribulum in Paul’s day was a heavy timber fashioned like a sled that could be pulled over the grain. It had spikes in it that looked like teeth made of stone or iron, that when drawn over the grain would separate the wheat from the chaff. What Paul was saying is that as we go through tribulations, and cling to God’s grace, the trials are profitable because they purify by helping us to get rid of the chaff. We need difficult challenges because they remove the chaff. James echo’s this same truth about character being cultivated in the midst of the misery in James 1:2-4 “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” Contrary to the prosperity theology God is not so much concerned with our comfort as He is in our character. Because character is so critical we need to take the time to search our lives for cracks in our character. Take time to look at every aspect of your life, from your relationship with God, your spouse, your children, your peers, even with your employer. Identify those shortcuts or shortcomings in your life and write them down. Put them before God in prayer. Take time to look for patterns of persistent problems in your life. Be willing to face the music, because you will never begin to repair your character unless you are willing to face your flaws, reveal them and repent of them. Be willing to rebuild your character, don’t settle for just facing up to your flaws begin to building a new future. Open up about your weaknesses and have the courage to confront them by being accountable to someone else. Trials develop our endurance which cultivates our character and character lead to one more quality that God wants to perfect in us through tough times:
Hope in its simplest definition means to have confidence and trust. Tribulations should lead to trusting, challenges should lead to an unshakable confident in Christ. The truth about trials is simple, even though they are difficult to endure, if we allow God to teach us through the trials we will respond with rejoicing because when the trial is over we will have learned to trust Him better. When we place our Hope in Christ it is then that we become the victors rather than the victims of our difficulties, remember victors rejoice. What about you are you worshipping or whining? So how can we rejoice in our trials, we need to learn to focus on the process instead of the pain. Suffering can produce not only stronger believers but more stable ones. What about you what is your perspective on when it comes to problems, do you see challenges as a benefit or a burden? We can rejoice in the trials because challenges can produce confident Christians. One of the most powerful promise that the Lord makes to us can give us great comfort in the midst of conflict, Philippians 1:6 “ And I am sure that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.”