“… endurance produces character, and character produces hope,” Romans 5:4 (ESV)
So what is meant by character?
To me it’s what defines a person. Their personal qualities. Their “grit” when times are tough.
If someone is of “good” character then that’s a testament to their integrity and trustworthiness. Their willingness to lend a helping hand and “go-the-extra-mile”.
It serves as a witness to others that their beliefs actually have an an impact on their own behaviour and thus on the lives of others.
In the Epistle to James, Paul makes it clear that faith is displayed through our actions. That “faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:17)
Yet it’s our character that helps us when “we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10)
prayer : that God would help me endure
action : put my words into action
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,” Romans 5:3 (ESV)
It’s one thing to rejoice when things are good. When everything falls into place. When the planets appear to cosmically align.
But what happens when it all turns to crap? When the “wheels fall off”? When nothing seems to be going right?
Do we shout curses at our maker? Heap abuse at our Lord? Cry tears of anguish and frustration?
Well yes. We tend to do this a lot.
After all, even Job was hard pushed not to when push-came-to-shove.
Yet suffering has a purpose.
It makes us stronger.
By teaching us to rely upon our merciful God for all our strength (Psalms 28:7).
It helps us to “endure”.
So that we may “run … the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
Time and time again we are told that our journey will be difficult. That the Christian life is not a bed-of-roses. That we should expect to come up against difficulties and hardships. Challenges that make it hard to go on.
Yet our response should be to count it all joy (James 1:2).
prayer : that when I suffer I will rejoice in The Lord my God
action : seek God’s wisdom to better understand His purpose for my life