Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 28: We rejoice in suffering

Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of God’s glory. Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  (Romans 5:1-5  NET)

The peace that this passage mentions is not a feeling, but the state of being at peace with God, instead of rebellion. The hostility between God and ourselves has come to an end, and now we are at war with Satan, his demons, and this world. Because of what Jesus did on Calvary, we are innocent in His eyes.  Our sins have been paid for, and we can now have access to His grace.

But what often confuses many Christians in this passage is the command to rejoice in suffering.  The old question of “Why is God doing this to me? I thought He loved me!” is a trap the devil uses to destroy our faith in the One who has all the power we need to overcome.  Whoever falls for that sort of self-pity is immediately reverting to a state of hostility and rebellion against God, and that peace is gone. God doesn’t love suffering, but knows that even attacks of the devil can be flipped around to benefit us and disgrace the devil—if we know how to respond.

Beyond the trials and sufferings we can be absolutely certain of victory on the other side, if we truly hold on to what we believe.  We believe that God has given us authority over all evil.  We believe that He is pleased every time we choose to act our faith.  We believe that even trials turn out for our good because He disciplines those He loves.  We believe that through using the muscles of faith and endurance, our character is purified and we become more like Him!  

But the final blessing comes when our purified character produces a spiritual hope.  Not that common hope that we throw around in conversations, like, “I sure hope I feel better in the morning”—but that Hope that is more solid, more stable than faith.  It’s the unshakeable assurance in the core of our being that we are victorious, we are strong, and we are children of the King and will soon be with Him in all His glory.  We are of another world, and no weakness can limit us here on this earth.
If you don’t have that unshakable hope within you now, learn to see your trials in a new way, and allow God to flip your world upside down.

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