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From Hardships to Holiness

Paul writes in Romans 5:3-5, “we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

What does “proven character” mean? Well, I looked through the epistles to find where suffering was paired with aspects of a proven character. There, I found that during times of trouble and tribulation, I can pray very specifically for virtues such as:

Faith that is “more precious than gold which is perishable” that will “be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:3-9)

Grace so that I might understand God’s sufficiency and see his power perfected in my weakness (II Corinthians 12:7-10)

Trust that God can and will cause everything, even my pain “to work together for good” (Romans 8:28)

Reliance upon God, knowing that “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13)

Wisdom from the Lord (James 1:2-5)

Strength “to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Perspective to understand that what I am going through “is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” (II Corinthians 4:7-18)

Awareness of opportunities to minister to others in the midst of suffering (Acts 16:22-34)

Compassion “so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (II Corinthians 1:3-7)

Realizing that I can pray for and gain this type of proven character through the hard times in life changes my attitude and approach to suffering. It doesn’t take the pain away, but it does redeem it for something of eternal value.

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