The Hope Sequence
Read Romans 5:1-11
We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Justification is no escape from the trials of life. But as believers, our trials work for us and not against us. Suffering builds Christian character. The sequence is: suffering--perseverance--character--hope. Our English word "tribulation" comes from a Latin word tribulum. In Paul's day, a tribulum was a heavy piece of timber with spikes in it, used for threshing the grain. The tribulum was drawn over the grain, and it separated the wheat from the chaff. As we go through tribulations, and depend on God's grace, the trials only purify us and help to get rid of the chaff.
For many months I visited a young man in a hospital who had almost burned to death. I do not know how many operations and skin grafts he had during those months or how many specialists visited him. But the thing that sustained him during those difficult months was not the explanations of the doctors, but the promises they gave him that he would recover. That was his hope. And the thing that sustained his hope was the love of his family and many friends as they stood by him. The love of God was channeled through them to him. He did recover and today gives glory to God.
Applying God's Truth:
1. Do you think it's possible to have perseverance, character, and hope without sufferings? Explain.
2. Can you think of a recent personal trial that helped make you a better, stronger person?
3. How can personal trials result in your giving glory to God?
Devotions for Renewal and Joy ©2005 by Dr. Warren Wiersbe. Used by permission of David C Cook. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.