PRINCIPLE 14 | CHARACTER OVER COMFORT
That God is more interested in our character than our comfort is a truth that is hard for many people to swallow. After all, who doesn’t prefer good times over bad times? Painlessness over pain is everyone’s first choice, right? And isn’t a good God obligated to make sure we enjoy seasons of deliverance over times of difficulty? Well, we serve a good God and He has our best interest at heart, but Jesus made it clear that in this world we are going to have trouble. But He also went on to encourage us to take heart in the middle of the storms of life – because He would overcome them on our behalf and bring us peace. Jesus doesn’t always take away our problems, but He will always be with us during our problems. And He will bring us peace during the storm and calm after (John 16:33).
The goal of every Christian is to become more like Jesus. It’s God’s aim to conform us into the image of His Son, as well (Romans 8:29). But for us to become like Jesus we will need to experience some of the same things Jesus experienced. Namely, difficulty, pain, hardship, and adversity. To underscore this reality, we see many stories in the Bible where God-fearing men and women went through hardships and problems and didn’t always enjoy endless seasons of peace and comfort. Moses, Joseph, Joshua, Esther, Ruth, Peter, Paul, and even Jesus faced very tough times.
And herein lies one of the keys to becoming more like Jesus. It is not whether or not we face hardships, it’s how we deal with them that matters most.
As we go through adversity, whether it be the COVID-19 and the resulting problems it creates (i.e. lost jobs, financial issues, stress, worry, uncertainty, health challenges, and even death) we must keep our eyes on Christ. Use this time to reflect on and ask the Lord to help us answer these 4 Questions:
- What can I learn?
- How can I grow?
- Where can I change?
- Who can I help?
Today I want to encourage you to consider these powerful scriptures as you endure hardship. These scriptures are powerful and help build perspective. Ponder them as you work your way through the questions posed above. And as you do, ask God to make you more like Him. Ask Him to cause you to think more like Him. And ask Him to help you live more like Him.
- Romans 8:28—And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
- James 1:2-4—Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
- Romans 8:18—I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
- Romans 5:3—Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character; and character, hope.
- 2 Corinthians 4:17-18—For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
- Genesis 50:20—You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the savings of many lives.
- 1 Peter 2:19-21—For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
Let’s commit together to seeking the Lord and asking Him to develop our character – over our comfort – during these challenging times.