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Worth the Struggle

February 03, 2014

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

 

I’ve recently made the decision to get back into physical shape. The biggest thing I’ve undertaken to accomplish this goal is that I’ve started to exercise at the gym and workout with a personal trainer guiding me. As I write this my legs are trembling as I just returned from my time with my trainer.
 

There have been many times my body has wanted to give up when it gets difficult. My body isn’t fully conditioned to the strenuous workouts that it’s been going through lately.   My wobbly legs, stretched-out lungs and throbbing muscles are often screaming to me to be done, to walk away.

 

Now let’s look at what Paul said in Romans 5:3-5 that was referenced above. As I’m suffering in these taxing workouts, it’s producing PERSEVERANCE in me to continue even when my body doesn’t want to. The Greek word  used for perseverance (hypomoné) is also a word used to describe  steadfastness, constancy and patience. 

 

The perseverance I’m working and striving for is producing CHARACTER. Character in this reference is from the Greek word dokimé which translated means “a specimen of tried worth.” As I persevere while working out even when I want to quit, that is  building up character in me. Character that has been proven as unwavering even in the midst of trembling limbs.

 

If I’m still following the example Paul gives in Romans, the character that is a result of continued perseverance will produce HOPE. The Greek word Paul uses for hope (elpis) here can be used to describe an expectation of good. It can also be used to describe “joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.” I’m hoping that all of this gruelling work and dedication will result something good; a transformed body and new, healthy lifestyle.

 

As much as I can relate this incredible piece of scripture to my new workout routine, that’s not what Paul wrote it about. He wrote it to you and to me as an encouragement to us when we are hurting and suffering.

 

When you persevere through the trauma of losing someone you love while relying on Christ, that will build character in you which will result in a joyful and confident expectation of deliverance into joy. 

 

When you persevere through the trials of a difficult relationship while seeking out Christ, that will build character in you which will result in a joyful and confident expectation of restoration.

 

Regardless of the battle or hardship you are going through, we are promised in God’s Holy Word that as we persevere, build character and hope that it will not lead to disappointment because we’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit.

 

As difficult as it is, as much as it hurts, I’m not struggling as bad as I did on my first day of training. Today is better than yesterday and yesterday was better than the day previous. My body is slowly getting used to the strenuous workouts that it’s being put through. It’s being conditioned to endure the hardship it’s undertaking. 

 

The same can be said when we struggle. When these trials arrive, the more we persevere, become a person of tried character and hope in our Savior, the easier it gets to go through times of struggle because our Heavenly Father will never disappoint us.

 

I also want to point out one amazing word in the beginning of this verse. The beginning of this says that we will also glory in our sufferings. The New Living Translation has rendered that word as rejoice. So, as we go into these struggles, we can rejoice because we know that the end result of whatever hardship we are going through, if we persevere and place our hope in Hope, we will not be disappointed! How sweet is that!?!?

 

Father, thank you for the promises you’ve given us in Your Word. Thank you for Paul’s words reminding us that we will never be disappointed when we place our hurts in Your capable and upright hands. In the times when we’re struggling, I pray that this wonderful piece of Scripture will come to mind with your enduring promise that as we endure, our hope is in You. Amen.

 

Tim LaBreche

Side by Side Ministries

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