Faith & Insight: Be confident in God’s love for you
“We can rejoice in our problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop perseverance, and perseverance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” ~ Romans 5:3,4
These scripture verses are ones that we usually don’t pin up on our wall, but the Bible is clear, God can use difficulties in our lives to develop valuable qualities like character and perseverance.
The translated Greek word for “character” actually means “tested, approved, genuine, esteemed.”
God’s primary concern is character, not comfort. Don’t get me wrong, God is the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (2Corinthians 1:3-4) and the Holy Spirit goes by the “The Comforter.”
The wonderful truth is that God can work in the midst of our uncomfortable difficulties and produce his character in us. Godly character development, what’s happening on the inside of our lives, is important in God’s agenda for us.
Christian author E.M. Bounds says it this way: “Prayer concerns conduct and conduct makes character. Conduct is what we do; character is what we are. Conduct is outward life. Character is the life unseen, hidden within, yet evidenced by that which is seen. Conduct is external, seen from without; character is internal — operating within. In the economy of grace conduct is the offspring of character. Character is the state of the heart, conduct its outward expression. Character is the root of the tree, conduct, the fruit it bears.”
As I said, God is obviously interested in the character of our lives, and trials and tribulations help in the process of it’s development. Please note, it’s not the problems that shape our character, but they provide a context in which we can yield to the shaping hand of God in our lives, and he does the shaping work.
Author C.S. Lewis explains it like this: “God has made it a rule for himself that he won’t alter people’s character by force. He can and will alter them — but only if the people will let him.” Let’s let him!
Be firmly rooted in the confidence of God’s love for you, and yield, as the prophet Isaiah wrote, to the loving, shaping hand of Father God:
“But now, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and all we are the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8).
Louis J. Locke is founding pastor at Fountainhead Foursquare Church.