There’s no way around it, tribulation will come. Our choice is to exult in it or not. Many people say, “I want to be a more patient person.” But we don’t pray for patience because we know what patience is—long suffering. In order to get patience, we have to suffer long. But we don’t want to suffer at all.
What does Long Suffering Accomplish?
When we don’t want to suffer long, we’re not truly believing in the hope of God. We’re not believing that suffering long will bring perseverance. Instead, we try to insulate ourselves.
But, if we rest in the promise of God, if we believe that God is working something in us, we begin to be able to exult in tribulation. Why? Because we see that it will ultimately bring about character. And, not just any character but character that reflects our King. If we want to look like Jesus, we must submit to the hope of Jesus. The hope that says if we exult in the hard times then God will work something good inside of our situation.If we want to look like Jesus, we must submit to the hope of Jesus. That hope says we are to exult in hard times. #biblestudy #covid-19 Click To Tweet
Are all Promises Yes & Amen?
There’s a Bible passage that says that all of the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus. Now the Bible says it so it’s absolutely true. We don’t need to shovel this verse off onto a margin page where we store things we don’t understand. But we do need to use discernment. This is where we need to grow in our understanding of rightly dividing the Word of God.
All the promises have always been yes and amen in Christ Jesus. What do I mean by this? Jesus wasn’t created in the New Testament to give the God of the Old Testament a make-over. No, the second person of the Trinity has always eternally existed, which means that when God spoke a promise in the Old Testament, the Logos, the Word—Jesus—was the one who brought that promise to (be). All of the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus.Are all the promises of God yes and amen in Jesus? #christiananswers Click To Tweet
Here’s where we go astray: there are promises that were made to people in the past that are not our promises. God promised Isaac to Abraham. Is that our promise? No. All of the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus but not all promises were intended for us. It’s simple logic.
Too many Christians are claiming a hope and a promise God never made to them. And then they’re mad at him for not doing it. They make up doctrines on top of doctrines to explain why their promises never seem to come true. The best thing for us to do is to rightly understand the word of God—to run back to the Scripture and say, “How am I misunderstanding this, Lord? Help me?” That’s called humility.
Humility is incredibly important on our faith journey. One of the things the Bible tells us is that hope deferred makes the heart grow sick. Imagine a wife asks her husband to fix her leaky faucet and the husband promises he will do it. But, ten years later, nothing has happened. Guess who is sick. His wife. Her heart has grown sick because her hope has been deferred. This is what happens when we cling to faulty theology. God’s promises don’t fall short. They always come true.
Let’s look at this from a different perspective. Imagine if the wife had never asked her husband to fix the faucet in the beginning. Should she be upset at deferred hope? No. Because no promise was ever made. This is what we do to God. We sit here saying, “God, where are you?” And God is responding with, “I never promised you that. Your promise is something different. I promised you that if you exult in tribulation then you will receive perseverance. And your perseverance will bring forth character. And your character will bring forth a clearer understanding of true hope.”
Let’s look at what Paul says next, “…and hope does not disappoint.” Hope can’t disappoint. It’s an absolute. Hope is not wishful thinking. Hope is not, “I really, really, really hope God will work in my life.” God is not a liar.All of the promises of God are yes and amen in Christ Jesus but not all promises were intended for us. It's simple logic. #christiantheology Click To Tweet
Faith is Trust
In the first post in our series, we looked at the idea that we must mean something by our faith. And, to mean something by our faith, God’s promises must be true. His promises cannot be wishful thinking. They must be the solid chair on which we sit. So, let’s get practical. You may be wondering about the people in your life who have gotten sick. They may have passed away. Maybe you’ve lost your job. Maybe your life is in shambles right now. Maybe ‘hoping in Jesus’ doesn’t feel practical.
Am I saying that you should just sit back in that chair and trust him anyway? Yes I am. As Christians, we must show the world the hope that sets us apart. We cannot preach the Gospel if we do not believe the Gospel. We must firmly rest in the absolute hope of God. And through the difficult circumstances we face, his hope is absolutely true for us. We can exult in this time because we know what God is building within us.
Perseverance, the Promise that keeps Giving
Perseverance will build character and character will enlarge our sense of hope until we see like we’ve never been able to see before. Our end hope will be greater than our beginning hope. Look back to what Romans 5:2 told us?
…through whom [Jesus] also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.
When we are faithful to act on God’s true promise to us—exulting in our tribulation—then we will move into a greater and greater understanding of hope. We received an introduction through Jesus. We can look forward to growing into fullness as our character is molded and shaped by our tribulations. (Read more about our INTRODUCTION here.)
Summing it Up
We can no longer accept the world’s definition of faith and hope. We are not a people who cross our fingers and wish for the best. We are not a people who cry in our homes while unsure if God is still in control. We are not a people who wonder if God is sovereign over our lives. We are not a people who live in constant anxiety.
We know that God is still King. He is still working and we have the supreme privilege of being able to say, “I know this is hard and I’m grieving too but I also know that joy comes in the morning because I trust the God of hope.” We are a people who rest in God no matter what happens. This is Biblical hope.
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison… (2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB)
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:1-5 NASB)
How is God growing you during this time of global upheaval? Share and encourage. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.We are not a people who cross our fingers and wish for the best. We are not a people who cry in our homes while unsure if God is still in control. Click To Tweet