This week Pastor Travis Davenport of Covenant Church in Grove City continued leading us through Romans 5. Today’s message was part of the sermon series Friends With Benefits. This portion of scripture is rough especially for those currently going through a tough circumstance, but that makes it even more important to be aware of the benefits of a friendship with Jesus. It’s when those tough times strike that we need him most in our lives.
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 boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Suffering is a part of every journey with Christ. Sometimes suffering marks the beginning of our journey. Sometimes suffering occurs frequently on our road maps. But one thing is for sure: we will all face suffering of some kind in our lives. It’s easiest for us to thank God for His many blessings than to be grateful for the tough places he makes us wade through, however this passage highlights the necessity of those troubling moments in our faith. We love it when God chooses to listen to the prayers and answer them according to our will, but we need to remember that God is more concerned about our eternal state than our benefits here on Earth. Sometimes his answers don’t align with what we think they should, but that usually means that he’s allowing this testing to happen for a greater purpose. And those greater purposes are outlined here in the passage above.
In the pit of suffering the last thing we want to do is throw any type of party (except maybe a pity party.) So there is a struggle in comprehending verse four when Paul says to, “(rejoice or) glory in our sufferings.” The one practical piece this verse gives to us is a look at the importance of perspective when it comes to suffering. When we can stand up to the testing of our faith in the face of struggles we set off a chain reaction which reaps eternal benefits. (Oftentimes this is the purpose of the suffering we face.)
The Chain Reaction-
- Suffering leads to endurance
- the Greek term for endurance means single-mindedness/focus
- the act of suffering eliminates distractions in our lives
- our time and money accumulate distractions, but the circumstance of suffering takes value away from things which formerly distracted us from God.
2. Endurance leads to character
- character is proven through testing
- once character has been tested the result is proven and genuine
- you can take control of your suffering by controlling how you allow it to affect you
3. Character leads to hope
- Hope is a conviction or confidence in an end result
- our hope is rest and peace with God
- our suffering removes any competition for our hope
- suffering shows us that the only thing that will truly fix our situation is Jesus and proves that our hope is in eternal life with Jesus not in anything of this world.
- there is no rest in any other outlet
So know that if you find yourself in a dark place struggling to keep your head above water that God has in mind your eternal benefits over your Earthly ones. It is not an easy message to digest especially in the midst of a large struggle, but if you endure, prove your character and place your hope in God then the benefits of those choices will far outweigh any other option.
The Ameri Brit Mom