endurance produces character

“… 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)

Kim+

prayer : that God would help me endure

action : put my words into action

we rejoice in our sufferings

“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).

Kim+

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

we rejoice in hope of the glory of God

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 (ESV)

How great a thing it is to “stand” in God’s “grace”!

To receive the gift he so freely gives. The gift of “faith”. The gift of forgiveness. The gift of life.

It’s “not a result of works so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:9)

Rather, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:31)

We cannot claim any merit of our own.

How then should we respond?

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4)

Because His promise of glory shines as a beacon in the darkness. Leading us on despite our struggles. Giving us hope to carry on even though things get tough.

“To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)

Kim+

prayer : thank God for His unending “grace”

action : rejoice

we have peace with God

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1 (ESV)

Peace is not an easy thing to find.

Living in a world where people constantly strive for power, dominance, success, and wealth – just to name a few – it can feel like we’re in a maelstrom that is completely out of our control.

But what peace is there in “having it all” when you don’t even have a relationship with the living God?

“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36)

Yet with the knowledge that Christ died for us; with the understanding that through His resurrection we too can have eternal life; with the assurance that faith in Him will give us the peace we truly long for deep inside, how can we do anything else but fall on our knees in awe and gratitude.

As Jesus said, “the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45-46)

Kim+

prayer : thank you Jesus for the gift of peace

action : meditate on God’s peace

Christ died for the ungodly

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6 (ESV)

The famous preacher Charles H. Spurgeon once gave a sermon on this very passage. To read the full transcript click on this link. The final section summarises the gist of his talk well:

‘I would not mind if I were condemned to live fifty years more, and never to be allowed to speak but these five words, if I might be allowed to utter them in the ear of every man, and woman, and child who lives.

CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY” is the best message that even angels could bring to men.

In the proclamation of this the whole church ought to take its share. Those of us who can address thousands should be diligent to cry aloud—”Christ died for the ungodly“; but those of you who can speak to one, or write a letter to one, must keep on at this—”Christ died for the ungodly.”

Shout it out, or whisper it out; print it in capitals, or write it in a lady’s hand—”Christ died for the ungodly.”

Speak it solemnly, it is not a thing for jest. Speak it joyfully; it is not a theme for sorrow, but for joy.

Speak it firmly; it is indisputable fact. Facts of science, as they call them, are always questioned: this is unquestionable.

Speak it earnestly; for if there be any truth which ought to arouse all a man’s soul it is this: “Christ died for the ungodly.”

Speak it where the ungodly live, and that is at your own house. Speak it also down in the dark corners of the city, in the haunts of debauchery, in the home of the thief, in the den to the depraved.

Tell it in the gaol; and sit down at the dying bed and read in a tender whisper—”Christ died for the ungodly.”

When you pass the harlot in the street, do not give a toss with that proud head of yours, but remember that “Christ died for the ungodly“; and when you recollect those that injured you, say no bitter word, but hold your tongue, and remember “Christ died for the ungodly.”

Make this henceforth the message of your life—”Christ died for the ungodly.”

And, oh, dear friends, you that are not saved, take care that you receive this message. Believe it. Go to God with this on your tongue—”Lord save me, for Christ died for the ungodly, and I am of them.” Fling yourself right on to this as a man commits himself to his lifebelt amid the surging billows.

“But I do not feel,” says one. Trust not your feelings if you do; but with no feelings and no hopes of your own, cling desperately to this, “Christ died for the ungodly.” The transforming, elevating, spiritualising, moralising, sanctifying power of this great fact you shall soon know and be no more ungodly; but first, as ungodly, rest you on this, “Christ died for the ungodly.”

Accept this truth, my dear hearer, and you are saved. I do not mean merely that you will be pardoned, I do not mean that you will enter heaven, I mean much more; I mean that you will have a new heart; you will be saved from the love of sin, saved from drunkenness, saved from uncleanness, saved from blasphemy, saved from dishonesty.

Christ died for the ungodly“—if that be really known and trusted in, it will open in your soul new springs of living water which will cleanse the Augean stable of your nature, and make a temple of God of that which was before a den of thieves.

Trust in the mercy of God through the death of Jesus Christ, and a new era in your life’s history will at once commence.’


I need not add anything more. Spurgeon has said it far more eloquently than I ever could.

Kim+

prayer : that all would know that “Christ died for the ungodly

action : change my iPhone signature to include this verse