Perseverance, Character and Hope... The Byproduct of Faith—Romans 5:3-4
"...Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope..." (Romans 5:3-4)
I love being around optimistic people, perhaps because I am a ‘glass half full' kind of girl. I love when people can see the silver lining in the midst of situations despite circumstances or obstacles. But the more I know people, the more I realize that this characteristic is a precious commodity.
However, Paul reminds us, as Christians we can rejoice in the midst of any circumstance because of where our hope is placed. Hope is the highway that gets our faith from point A to point B. Hope is what keeps us moving and rejoicing through whatever circumstances life throws our way. So how do we have hope to see our faith realized?
We have hope when our faith is resting firmly in Jesus. Then it doesn't matter when suffering or persecution comes our way, because hope lets us rejoice in the midst of it. James chapter one says something similar, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." (James 1:2-3). Both Paul and James knew that a byproduct of suffering at the hand of this world was perseverance.
The King James Bible interprets preservation as patience in both passages. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit and necessary for Christians. Unlike the world's definition of patience, it is not a passive word, but rather a strong active word. The heart of patience denotes endurance, consistency and perseverance no matter what happens.
Patience allows our faith to mature and produce hope. Hope gets us through to the end goal, which is the glory of God. As Christians we should always be optimistic looking forward to Jesus' return for us. Jesus said, "in this world, you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) He knew the hope to which he was calling us, and this blessed hope is what we await patiently for enduring and conquering in his name until his return. Praise God that this kind of hope does not disappoint!
Original article published July 21, 2009.