Ascribing Artist Devotion - My Plans for You 7) Growing Pains
Continuation from last Ascribing Artists devotional: We discovered the one overarching reason for suffering is for the glory of God. Don’t misunderstand me in thinking all suffering is for the glory of God. Please reread the devotion from March for further understanding. The second of five secondary reasons is related to growth, our spiritual growth. We see this in a set of verses we probably have all heard, but in most cases glance over or don’t fully understand. Romans 5:3-5, “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
I believe most of us glance over or don’t try to understand these verses because rejoicing in our sufferings does not only seem impossible, but really a foolish response. Who in their right mind rejoices in their sufferings? Don’t we strive as much as possible to avoid suffering and be comfortable? This is our fallen nature’s natural response.
God’s Word says we can rejoice knowing, “suffering produces endurance.” A simple analogy would be the training of a cross-country runner. In the beginning, the work that the runner had to suffer through to run 1 or 2 miles made running 5 or 6 miles easier, until one day a full marathon is achieved and at that point the suffering to run 1 or 2 miles seems laughable. Suffering does produce endurance.
God’s Word says we can rejoice knowing, “endurance produces character.” Out of the endurance of suffering character is produced.
We could chew on the depths of that truth for a long time, but to use another analogy, think of refining silver. Silver in its natural state is filled with impurities. The old process of refining silver was to heat it causing the impurities or dross to rise to the surface and then be skimmed off. When the heat is turned up and the pressure is on, what comes to the surface of your life? Anger? Addiction? Bitterness? Despair? Disbelief? _______? As believers, who still sin, God makes us aware of the dross in our lives not as a way of condemnation, but in the hope of confession and repentance, where He works to skim it from our lives. He knows our sinfulness! The question is, do we?
God’s Word says we can rejoice knowing, “character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame.” Character builds confidence giving the runner hope that they will win the prize, because of all the suffering that went into training. But listen to this, as Christians our hope in gaining victory is not sealed by our might, but “through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Hallelujah!
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6,7
Peace unto you,