Why Don’t We Just Give Up?
Read Romans 5:1-5 (ESV)
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
How does knowing the blessings that God has promised us through Christ encourage you to persevere in the midst of trials and suffering?
I think one of the hardest things about being a human is the fact that we don’t know exactly what the future holds. In times of trials and sufferings, we don’t know how long we’ll have to endure the pain. We don’t know how the situation will be resolved. How long will the trial last? We just don’t know. So what encourages us to keep going? Why don’t we just give up?
That’s why I find Paul’s words to the Romans so encouraging here. First, he summarized our great hope. We have been justified or declared righteous through Jesus Christ. Instead of dreading future judgment and fearing the wrath of God, those of us who have placed our faith in Christ can have inner peace in knowing that our relationship with God has been restored. Once we were enemies of God because of our sin and rebellion against Him (Colossians 1:21). But in Romans 5:1-11, Paul explained that because of Jesus’s death on our behalf, we have been reconciled to God!
Paul went on to explain that we obtain access to God only by faith in Jesus Christ. Once we come to Jesus in faith, we are in good standing with God. We stand secure in His grace by faith. Furthermore, Paul wrote that we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (5:1). Not only do we no longer have to fear God’s wrath and dread His judgment, but we also get to look forward with great joy to sharing in God’s glory for all eternity!
But if that somehow isn’t enough to look forward to, Paul goes on. He said that we don’t just have to endure the suffering that we face in this life. Instead, we can rejoice in it! Why? Because God is using that suffering to refine us and transform us.
When we want to get in physical shape, we have to train and work out. We have to endure what we might consider suffering in order to see any kind of transformation in our physical bodies. Likewise, persevering through trials builds spiritual muscle. Over time, these “work-outs” make us stronger and build in us a character that is more and more like Christ every day. It is truly transformational.
Plus, we have hope! We have something to look forward to. We may not know how long the trial is going to last or when the suffering will end. But we do know that our eternal rewards will far outweigh this temporary suffering. In 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Paul wrote: “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that unseen are eternal.”
Friends, I don’t know about you, but if God hadn’t made us so many promises so clearly in His Word, I would be tempted to just give up when times get hard. The world can be so brutal and without the hope of Jesus Christ found in His Word, what hope do we have? But we do have hope! We have a promise that no matter what we are going through here, the glory that awaits us is better by far! And our suffering here isn’t pointless. God is using it to strengthen us and transform us. So, no matter how hard life gets, don’t give up! Press on. It is going to be worth it. I promise.
Lord, sometimes life is so hard. You know the struggles and suffering that I am going through. Without Your promises, I would be tempted to just give up. But I know that You have promised a future glory that far outweighs my pain right now. Please give me the strength to persevere. Use the trials to strengthen me and transform my character more and more into Your image. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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