Romans 5:3-5 - Trials and Character Development.
Romans 5:3-5 - Trials and Character Development.
Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into
problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us--they help us
learn to endure. 4 And endurance develops strength of character in us,
and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation. 5
And this expectation will not disappoint us. For we know how dearly
God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our
hearts with his love.
Romans 5:3-5 (NCV) We also have joy with our troubles, because
we know that these troubles produce patience. 4 And patience
produces character, and character produces hope. 5 And this hope will
never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our
hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given
Romans 5:3-5 (EAV) Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!]
let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our
sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce
patient and unswerving endurance. 4 And endurance (fortitude) develops
maturity of character (*approved faith and tried integrity). And
character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope
of eternal salvation. 5 Such hope never disappoints or deludes or
shames us, for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the
Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.
Romans 5:3-5 (CWR) We can even be joyful when we go through
hardships, because we know that suffering produces patient endurance, 4 and
patient endurance produces strength of character, and character gives us
unshakable hope. 5 Such hope will not disappoint us, because God has also
poured out His love on us by giving us the Holy Spirit as a
down-payment for an endless future.
CONTEXT AND INTRODUCTION
Riches in Christ (1-5). Peace, access into God's grace, joy,
hope, love, the Holy Spirit--what riches we have in Christ! And trials
work for us, not against us, and develop Christian character. How
rich we are! [Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary by Warren Wiersbe]
Paul does not advocate a morbid view of life but a joyous and
triumphant one... A Christian can rejoice in suffering because he knows that
it is not meaningless. Part of God's purpose is to produce
character in his children. [NIV SB]
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
After Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden, the world slipped
into a pretty sorry state. It will remain that way until Jesus comes
again and sets up his Kingdom in the new creation. Sure, we all want a
world where nothing bad happens. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Jesus promises just that--but in eternity, not the present. In this
world we have to fight against Satan and bring as many people as we
can out from under his grip. And, right now, we face times of
Some suffering we bring on ourselves--we do dumb things and
get hurt. Some suffering is caused by sin. Some suffering--such as
natural disasters like floods, fire, or storms--is the result of the
curse that came over creation after the Fall in the Garden of Eden. We
do not always know why certain bad things happen.
God may not always stop suffering, but that doesn't lessen
his power. He does something even better: He uses our suffering to
teach us, mature us, and help us to reach out to others who are also
suffering. In this way God takes suffering and redeems it. [The One Year
Bible for New Believers re Rom.5:1-5]
Is all suffering beneficial? Not necessarily. Suffering in
itself is not beneficial. Some who dwell only on their suffering never
gain its benefits or achieve a higher perspective. But those who
focus on what God can do through suffering will be strengthened. They
can tap into God's resources, allowing him to make something
positive out of the negative. Suffering can yield perseverance, character
and hope when we allow God to work [Quest SB]
We rejoice in suffering, not because we like pain or deny its
tragedy, but because we know God is using life's difficulties and Satan's
attacks to build our character. The problems that we run into will
develop our perseverance--which in turn will strengthen our character,
deepen our trust in God, and give us greater confidence about the
future. You probably find your patience tested in some way every day.
Thank God for those opportunities to grow, and deal with them in his
strength (see also James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-7). [Life Application SB]
We can rejoice in our sufferings because God says there is a
purpose in them! The Scriptures plainly teach that once we become God's
child, everything that happens to us is for a reason. The three
character qualities that He desires us to have are listed here so that we
will be able to not only understand why we suffer, but recognize what
the suffering is doing in us. Suffering produces perseverance, which
is the highly valued attitude of the heart that allows us to endure
under trials. When we are able to stand firm during hard times,
integrity or character, is built up in us. This ability to stand with
moral fortitude during hard times leads us to great confidence in God.
He has ordained it to be that way. Can you rejoice in your
suffering now that you know why you must suffer? Do you have
perseverance? character? hope? They are yours in Christ, as you obey His
Word. [In His Time; Walk With Wisdom]
Understand that problems will come into your life; however,
they're no reason to believe that God has stopped loving you or that
you've somehow lost His grace. Just the opposite is true - God has
allowed this suffering so that you will learn to persevere, so you'll
develop His character, and so you'll have hope. Because of His great
love for you, God wants you to experience His eternal, abundant life
more deeply. However, the only way to prepare you for it is through
hardship. So, as you can see, even the trials are the outpouring of His
Therefore, instead of doubting God's love because of your
troubles, rejoice in them. As 1 Peter 4:12, 13 admonishes, "Do not think
it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as
though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent
that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is
revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." [Life Principles SB By
Charles Stanley re Rom. 5:1-5]
The word character (dokime) includes the idea of "approved as a
result of testing." A person with this kind of character is known for
his or her inward qualities rather than any outward appearances.
There is a progression that begins with suffering and ends with
character. Suffering is like the pressure put on carbon to produce a
diamond. As we persevere, we are being formed and molded on the
inside--God is producing his character within us. The end result of this
chain reaction is hope--confidence that God is in control and will see
us through. God's work in us now, conforming us "to the likeness of
his Son" (8:29), gives us a glimpse of the wonderful things he has
in store for us in the future. If we can maintain our love for
Christ and see his work through all our difficulties, the result is
increased faith, hope, and love. The difficulties of life are not random,
meaningless, or wasted when we are trusting God. Our hope needs to grow and
develop with the rest of our spiritual being. Rejoicing during suffering
will increase our endurance and strengthen our overall character,
leading to a more mature hope. (See also Eph 4:2-5; Col 1:4-5.) (Life
We are reluctant to admit it, but many of us hope for good
from God while expecting disappointment. We would love to encounter
Him, but we suspect the encounters may come in the guise of suffering
- as though the only way we grow closer to Him is through pain and
trials. We aren't sure we want to seek Him fully because we are afraid
of the cost. Yet God calls us into an experience with Him with the
promise that His Presence will bring us joy. Our expectations don't line
up with His promise. And we have to decide which we believe.
Hope believes the best about God - that He doesn't just put
us through trials but that He plans pleasures and joys for us too.
He uses the difficulties in our lives, to be sure, but He doesn't
sadistically arrange them. He desires to bless. That's His nature. When we
hope in Him, we are acknowledging who He is.
Rejoice in God and mistrust any expectations that His
promises will be broken, His plans will be thwarted, or His goodness will
be veiled in our lives. Hope hears His heartbeat accurately and
ignores any lies about His character. It's a concrete expectation of
good - not wishful thinking, not optimism, but a firm knowledge of
God's favor. And hope in Him, according to the Word, will not
disappoint us. A life rooted in expectation of His goodness will always
eventually be satisfied.
Lord, I place my hope in You. I trust that You are working on
my behalf, no matter how difficult my circumstances become. Please
fill me with hope - the kind that comes from Your Spirit and cannot
disappoint. And help me live in that hope today. [The One Year Experiencing
God's Presence Devotional by Chris Tiegreen re Rom. 5:2, 5]
All too often "suffering" seems to be the word for our today.
But Paul said that, because of our peace with God through Jesus, we
even "rejoice in our sufferings."
Perspective provides the reason. A young woman experiencing
the pains of childbirth still rejoices--because she knows that her
suffering will give birth to a precious new life. She looks ahead, and the
promise the future holds gives meaning to her present pain.
It's just this way with Christians. Knowing that we have
peace with God, we are sure that our present is pregnant with promise.
We experience joy in suffering because we know out of pain God will
bring something good.
Paul even tells us one good our suffering will bring! Our
pain will produce perseverance, and this will produce character, and
character will produce hope. Through hope, that expectant gaze we fix on
the future, we will find the true meaning of life.
This doesn't mean we'll have a grim life here, in exchange
for a joyful future. Oh, no. It means we will have joy now as well
as then. Learning to hope will save us from trying to anchor our
souls on the slippery bottom of this world's riches or fame. As we put
our hope in God, His Spirit will flood our hearts with a sense of
His love. And this, the present experience of the love of God, will
give us present joy. [The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
Pebble Beach, on the California coast, has become quite
famous for the beautiful pebbles found there. The raging white surf
continually roars, thundering and pounding against the rocks on the shore.
These stones are trapped in the arms of the merciless waves. They are
tossed, rolled, rubbed together, and ground against the sharp edges of
the cliffs. Both day and night, this process of grinding continues
relentlessly. And what is the result?
Tourists from around the world flock there to collect the
beautiful round stones. They display them in cabinets and use them to
decorate their homes. Yet a little farther up the coast, just around the
point of the cliff, is a quiet cove. Protected from the face of the
ocean, sheltered from the storms, and always in the sun, the sands are
covered with an abundance of pebbles never sought by the travelers.
So why have these stones been left untouched through all the
years? Simply because they have escaped all the turmoil and the
grinding of the waves. The quietness and peace have left them as they
have always been - rough, unpolished, and devoid of beauty - for
polish is the result of difficulties.
Since God knows what niche we are to fill, let us trust Him
to shape us to it. And since He knows what work we are to do, let
us trust Him to grind us so we will be properly prepared.
O blows that strike! O hurts that pierce
This fainting heart of mine!
What are you but the Master's tools
Forming a work Divine?
Nearly all of God's jewels are crystallized tears. [Streams
in the Desert by Cowman re Isa. 49:2]
Hope Does Not Disappoint
My life was a shambles in every area. No part of it was left
untouched by pain and discouragement. As a Christian, I could not
understand why this was so. I had not accomplished many of the things I had
set out to do, so I felt like a failure. In my heart, hope was
One night, after crying what seemed like a thousand tears, I
pleaded with God to show me why all this was happening to me. He led me
to Romans and these words: "Hope will not lead to disappointment."
Jesus' redeeming sacrifice did not disappoint humanity. Because of this
one act of righteousness, we are cleansed from unrighteousness.
Secretly I carried the sin of unforgiveness in my own life.
But letting that go would be so difficult. This verse helped me to
embrace the trials in my life because they led directly to endurance and
character, which gave me the courage to repent. Only then did I experience
true confidence in the "hope of salvation." Pain and disappointment
slipped away as God's loving sacrifice brought me near to the throne of
grace. My own heartache and failures seemed to shrink when I measured
them against his great redemption of humankind.
In him, I have confidence and faith to persevere. He is my
Intercessor in heaven--a sure thing and a hope that does not disappoint!
Sandra K. Bouie, wife, mother of six, and grandmother of one,
is an award-winning freelance writer and the newsletter editor of
New Life Center Ministries. [The One Year Bible Live Verse
Devotional re Rom. 5:3-5]
What Love Does
Fred Smith and Jill Briscoe, in the book Breakfast with Fred,
team up to illustrate that when we have someone who greatly loves us,
it empowers us to adjust our attitudes and behavior.
Fred Smith remembers traveling in Europe with a nonbelieving
business associate whom he expected to take advantage of the many sexual
opportunities available. Yet all during the trip, the man talked only about
his wife and their love for each other. Smith reports, ''After
attending a concert at LaScala, his only remark was, 'I wish she were
here.' His response to her love became his strength."
Jill Briscoe recalls her own experiences with her father,
whom she adored. When she was in high school, her boyfriend invited
her to go to bed with him. She remembers her sister's saying, "Jill,
if you ever get pregnant, it would kill Daddy!" Briscoe's love and
reverence for her father kept her from yielding to temptation. In the same
way, she says, her love for her heavenly Father helps her resist what
would break his heart.
Knowing that God loves us personally gives us a sense of
identity and security so we can approach life with purpose and drive.
When we believe that God views us as his beloved-the way Jill
Briscoe's father loved her-we become empowered to live in faith. This puts
us on the path to joy.
Jill Briscoe writes of enjoying her father's company when
they went fishing in the beautiful English Lake District, spending
hours together trekking along the rivers. "So it has been with my
heavenly Father," she writes. "Obedience without love is a miserable
affair. Obedience with love is faith dancing!"
Father who loves me, I pray you will bring into my soul the
assurance that you see me as your beloved. Make my faith dance because I'm
free and forgiven, smiling because of my wonderful Father.
We know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the
Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5 NLT [The One
Year Book of Encouragement by Harold Myra]
The Sum of All Trials
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance
develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident
hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For
we know how dearly God loves us. Romans 5:3-5
She dragged her preteen body into the study, eyes downcast,
shoulders sagging. I glanced up from my computer in time to see her
collapse to her knees, throw her arms before her, and bury her face in
Her voice escaped from under the mop of hair: "Mom, why do we
have to do algebra?"
Stifling a laugh, I answered, "Because we all need something
to torture us, so when it is behind us, we are thankful."
Her voice saturated with disgust, she replied, "Well, it's
For her it is algebra. For me it is weight loss. For a friend
it is her mother's declining health. For each of us it is something
bigger than ourselves, so big it drops us to our knees wondering why
this and why us, asking how we will get through, but knowing whom to
go to with our questions.
Right now she hates algebra, and she just wants out of the
pain it causes. I understand. However, I also know she will survive.
I will survive too. I know it.
I looked at the frustrated heap in front of me and said,
"Honey, your hair looks like dead Cousin Itt from The Addams Family TV
show. It's sort of creeping me out."
Laughter bubbled forth. A smiling face popped up. A quick
hug. "Thanks, Mom. I know I can always count on you to make me feel
And I know I can always count on my Father to make me feel
better. - Jerri Kelley
Dear Lord, thank you for trials that lead me right to you,
the one I can always count on. Amen. [The One Year Devotional of Joy
and Laughter by Mary Hollingsworth re Rom. 5:3-5]
We rejoice in suffering not because pain in itself is good, but
because it is the engraver's tool with which God creates lines of beauty
on the life. -- Kenneth J. Foreman (Life Application Commentary)
LINKS FOR FURTHER STUDY:
James 1:2-4 -
1 Peter 1:6 -
1 Peter 1:6 continued -