Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 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. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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.”
Another blessing we find is that we can “boast in our sufferings” (verse 3). That seems like a paradox to us but it is true! As a follower of Christ, joy can coexist with affliction! In fact, new converts were warned that the kingdom of God could be entered only “through many hardships” (Acts 14:22); when hardships came their way, they could not complain that they had not been prepared for it.
This is sometimes a difficult truth to get our heads wrapped around. This truth is one of the most difficult parts of the Christian life: becoming a disciple of Christ does not make us immune to life’s trials and tribulations. One of the most common complaints against God is that He doesn’t keep bad things from happening to good people. It’s true—people think “I’m a good person; God should not have allowed this to come my way. Look at all that I’ve done for Him. Doesn’t ‘loving us’ mean He wants our lives to be easy and comfortable?” Well, no, it doesn’t. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves those who are His children and He “works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28). So that means that the suffering He allows in our lives is part of the working together of all things for good. Therefore, for the believer, our suffering must have a purpose.
We can rejoice in suffering because we know it is not meaningless; it’s part of God’s purpose to produce character.
As believers suffer, they develop perseverance; that quality deepens their character; and a deepened, tested character results in hope (i.e., confidence) that God will see them through. It’s the kind of confidence that doesn’t allow us to be reduced to fear and misery, but instead will exalt in suffering. It’s not a pride in our goodness, but rather pride or boasting in the hope of glory that’s been achieved for us in Christ.
When we pass through suffering we learn a greater dependence on God, which results in faith and hope being built up.
Understand this: I’m not talking about self-delusion, working ourselves up emotionally. I’m talking about a hope that is assured to us by the Holy Spirit whom God has been given to us and who brings home God’s love to us.
We will all at some point face hard times. We can be assured that suffering will come our way; we’re not immune to it. However, when you do suffer remember “suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 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”
You can be confident that: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:37-39).”
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible.