What Builds Character?
Proverbs 20:9 – Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?
No one is without sin. As soon as we confess our sin and repent, sinful thoughts and actions begin to creep back into our lives. Thank God that He provides forgiveness and ongoing cleansing moment by moment with His grace and mercy when we ask for it.
When the winds, lightning, and thunder of adversity started shaking the ground beneath our feet, Bobby and I took cover in the only place and with the only person that could and would carry us through the forceful assault.
Psalm 11:3 – When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?
When all we could see around us were frightening circumstances and crumbling foundations, we knew from past experiences that God is greater than anything our enemies could bring against us. God’s power is never diminished by any turn of events. Nothing happens without His knowledge and permission.
Psalm 11:5-6 – The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.
God does not preserve believers from difficult circumstances, but He tests both the righteous and the wicked. For some, God’s tests become a refining fire, while for others; they become an incinerator for destruction.
As the storms of adversity continue to batter us and blow us through the deep dark valley of the great anguish in our souls, we have asked God did we sow pain, despair, grief, sorrow, disrespect, dishonor, deception, lies, bitterness, spitefulness and vengeance. Are we reaping these because we have sown them? Are we in God’s refining fire, or are we in the incinerator for destruction?
James 1:2-4 – Consider is pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Psalm 147: 10-11 – His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Proverbs 24:10 – If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!
Times of trouble can show us who we really are, what kind of character we have developed. The trouble we face today is our training ground for even greater opportunities tomorrow as long as we use our skills and gifts to honor and glorify God.
Psalm 66:10 – For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver
Just as fire refines silver in the smelting process, trials refine our character. They bring us a new and deeper wisdom, helping us discern truth from falsehood and give us the discipline to do what we know is right.
As we have continued to ask, seek, and knock, God has provided us with assurance again and again through His Word that even though these storms of adversity have caused us great grief, sorrow and pain, Ephesians 3:20 – Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to his power that is at work within us.
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.
This promise can only be claimed by those who love God and are called according to His purpose. God is able to turn every circumstance around for our long-range good.