“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” (Romans 5:3-4)
We already learned that it’s possible to experience joy in the midst of sufferings, when the Holy Spirit fills believers with supernatural joy despite everything they are going through. In today’s verse, Paul even says that he is happy with the troubles he has! He also gives the reason for this striking remark. He does not rejoice in his sufferings because they feel so great, but because he knows that suffering makes his faith stronger.
The apostle James says the same about trials: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2-3).
To these men, developing virtues like steadfastness and endurance was so important that it was worth suffering for. They strived to be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4).
All of God’s children will reach ultimate perfection when Jesus returns. Until then, they will have failures and weaknesses and imperfections. But, seeing your own character being gradually transformed into the likeness of Christ as you go through sufferings is a great reason for joy.
Have you changed since you first became a Christian? In which respects?