Yesterday we studied how filling our mind with God’s Word and praying His Word rebuilds strong hope in the midst of affliction. Today, I was also amazed to learn that God also USES affliction—to BUILD hope! Take a minute to read and meditate on the following passage:
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. Now hope does NOT disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
The trials that we walk through—WITH God at the center of our life produces HOPE! WAIT—what??? Well, tribulation produces perseverance. “Perseverance” is defined loosely as “persistence in achieving a goal despite the opposition.” As each victory is achieved and we give glory to God [for without Him we don’t even have life much less victory], He builds our character to more closely reflect Himself. That is, we grow in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, humility, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22) But remember, it is impossible to build GOD’s character unless we are FIRST born again. It is only upon the secure foundation of the irrevocable gift of salvation that we can build a hope in God—that does not disappoint!
Our affliction is an opportunity to accelerate our journey towards becoming more like Christ.
As we become more Christ-like, He fills us with unfailing hope. His glory within us shines so brightly that it reveals every lie of the enemy. But becoming more Christ-like requires discipline. We must be consistently strengthening our inner man. Without strengthening our inner man, we simply become the color of our environment. What do I mean? When we are discouraged, it’s easy to lose ourselves in the things of this world—television, sleep, working out, eating, whatever our go-to thing is. The MORE we feed our flesh [outer man], the LESS we hope in God. This is why it is critical to build up our inner man in a relationship with God!
Otherwise, we are left to hope in the shifting sand of this world which is no place for our hope.
Building the inner man means disciplining ourselves to read God’s Word and spend time in deep and meaningful prayer, as well as becoming an active part in a local church community. By keeping God at the center of our life, we are constantly reminded of WHO we are, WHAT we are promised, and most importantly—WHO God is! During affliction, we are found within the great comfort of God’s presence and we don’t lose our deep and abiding hope. The more we build our hope in Him, the more healthy our hope becomes.
God has given us hope in Himself; hope in Him will never disappoint us!
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