How “Trouble” Builds Your Faith “Muscle!”
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
We all know that being a believer doesn’t mean we are not going to see trouble; in fact, we are actually advised not to be surprised or think it “strange” when we experience negative events or situations (see 1 Peter 4:12).
Because we live in a fallen world, troubles are going to come. We lost “perfection” when Adam forfeited the right to live in the Garden of Eden, allowing the enemy to lie and steal away his promise. After that, the human race was guaranteed to experience every bad thing that a fallen world would offer.
However, because of our faith in Jesus Christ, our “bad times” now have a “good outcome”…and we will experience a greater manifestation of character, and ultimately, hope — if we persevere through the pain and suffering.
How does this happen? Well, we’ve already established that Romans 5:1 makes it clear that our faith brings us into peace with God…and that peace with God is a work of Jesus. Jesus did us a favor by shedding His blood on the cross…and through our belief in Him, we are given “access by faith into this grace” – permission to enter into the throne room of God…to access to His grace, His promise, His provision, and protection.
In verse 3, Paul goes on to reveal that even as we have moved in this peace with God, we are GOING to eventually face “suffering.”
In John 16:33, Jesus says:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Here Jesus warns that, while we WILL have peace through Him, in this world we are undoubtedly going to have trouble…suffering…tribulation…pressure! But Jesus also tells us to “take heart” – because, through our belief in Him, we are heirs to the victory He attained. Christ overcame everything and anything the world could possible bring in the way of trouble; more than that, He overcame the ultimate condition of suffering – death!
Therefore, we should acknowledge — and accept — that suffering, trouble, and tribulation confirms the peace we have with God. This is why Paul uses the phrase, “I glory in tribulation…” — not because tribulation in and of itself is good…but because we realize it signals our position of favor with God.
We should also go on and “glory in tribulation”…or, acknowledge the greater promise our suffering will produce – because we realize we can come out on the other end of the trial with an even greater ability to persevere (“persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement”). Perseverance is key in attaining God’s promises. I believe perseverance is the number one behavioral characteristic believers must have to see God’s promises come to fruition through the long haul!
Additionally, perseverance will ultimately reveal in us a more “Christ-like” character — and a stronger determination to experience the “glory” of a life of promise on earth, and an eternal life with God after our death.
Therefore, as you are experiencing trouble, you must learn to
“work it out – and wait it out!” Let your faith “work” for you, as you wait for your season of trial to pass. It may not “feel” good”… but if you believe God’s Word, you know there’s a purpose to the pain! (No pain, no gain, right?)
You learn to persevere, and wait out seasons of financial stress…wait out seasons of relationship trouble…wait out physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional attack…wait out seasons of negative rumor and false words being spoken about you. Ultimately, wait out the devil!
The King James version uses the term, “tribulation worketh patience.” In the Greek, “tribulation” means “pressure, trouble;” “worketh” means “to do or work fully; accomplish, finish, fashion;” and “patience” means “cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy, waiting.”
Ultimately, our faith is almost like a muscle: to gain its optimal level and condition, it is taken through “workouts!” “Suffering” becomes like an “exercise routine” in our life — that will undoubtedly cause pain – but will produce excellent results!
So when you are wondering why trouble, trial, pain or suffering seems to be a part of your life…remember that it takes all of these experiences to “work” our faith. Because faith is like a muscle – and you have to” work it” — for it to “work for you!”