3D Devotional 6.14.15

3D   6.14.19 Romans 5:1-5 NRSV

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

...we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us....

To celebrate one’s suffering sounds depressingly morbid to Western Christians’ ears. We absorb from our culture the attitude that our pursuit and attainment of happiness is our inalienable right. If suffering comes we look to technology to solve it, to lawyers to apportion the blame, and to pills and elixirs to dull the pain.

Which sufferings Paul intends are not addressed by him but his approach is steady and realistic-- suffering produces patience, and patience produces a tried and tested character. In contemporary Western society, which wants everything at once and wants to be free to change character according to the mood of the moment, neither suffering or patience is much in evidence nor highly prized. The results should not be surprising: we are in many respects a society without hope.

The followers of Jesus Christ are called to model communities, families, and personal lives in which faith, peace, suffering, patience, character, and hope is lived out. We are to be sustained by the Holy Spirit’s work of enabling us to know God’s love and to love God in return.

Holy God, by your Holy Spirit cause us to accept the suffering that produces endurance that produces character that produces hope. Amen.

Ken Casey

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