As a Christian, we are called to persevere and push through the toughest of circumstances. The Holy Bible encourages us to endure and not give in because if we don’t give up, we will reap what we sow. We will develop our character so we can withstand the storm.
Romans 5:3-4 explains “And not only this, but [with joy] let us exult in our sufferings and rejoice in our hardships, knowing that hardship (distress, pressure, trouble) produces patient endurance; and endurance, proven character (spiritual maturity); and proven character, hope and confident assurance [of eternal salvation].”
The storms of life can hit us out of nowhere. Suddenly, those storms can be so strong, they knock us off our feet.
If we have a Saviour that loves us, why does he allow us to go through hardships and difficulties that oftentimes make no sense? Why do we have to suffer to develop our character?
The answers to these questions lie in the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The only way we can develop the fruit of the Spirit is through testing and affliction. There is no other way. God gives us opportunities to mature our fruit through difficulties and hard circumstances. And sometimes it takes struggle after struggle to mature the fruit.
If we don’t develop our fruits, then the flesh will run rampant in our lives. (Galatians 5: 16-17) “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.”
He makes the sun rise on the evil and on good. The rains of life fall on the just and the unjust. (Matthew 5:45) So we can either complain about how unfairly we have been treated when the downpour does come or we can focus on the fact that maybe God is trying to lead us into growing the fruit that Galatians 5 speaks of.
Occasionally, we are required to go through a purifying process to be what God created us to be. This means that we have to cope with situations in life that can be unpleasant. This doesn’t have to stop us from growing spiritually. And it doesn’t necessarily mean this process will last forever.
The Bible speaks further about this refining process in Zechariah 13:9 “And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”
When Jesus went to the cross for our sins, He didn’t grumble or moan about how He was going to be crucified. He knew he had a destiny to fulfil which was His Father’s purpose in His life. Likewise, we need to have the same attitude when chaos comes into our lives.
When storms present themselves to us, we must be like Jesus and press on knowing that there is a purpose for every storm. (Romans 8:28) “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Jesus was perfect, He had all the fruits of the Spirit which greatly assisted Him to face the tribulation and trials He went through here on earth during His ministry. This is why the Holy Spirit wants us to bear lasting fruit which will continue to mature and grow.
If we are going to live an abundant, Spirit-filled life that is stable and secure, we require the fruit of the Spirit.
If we are going to get through the ups and downs that life throws at us, we need to be joyful and at peace.
If we are going to withstand being treated unfairly by people, we should be kind and patient.
The fruit of the Spirit is provided to us by the Holy Spirit so we can be an example to others. As Christians, we are a beacon of light to a fallen world. We should ensure our fruits are brought forth to help others and ourselves. Matthew 5:14-16 says “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honour and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
So we can’t give up, or give in to pressure that so often comes our way. We must press forward and fight the good fight of faith. For if we don’t give up we will reap a harvest. (Galatians 6:9)