Eight Things to Remember During Tough Times (part 6) Hard times aid character development
August 30, 2023
Eight Things to Remember During Tough Times (part 6)
Hard times aid character development
Our character is formed in the tests and hard places we endure.
If you want to be used by God, be willing to endure some trouble!
Living by faith does not immunize us from life’s battles. Living by faith gives us the answer in the middle of the conflict!
1 Peter 5:10 (MEV)
But after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called us to His eternal glory through Christ Jesus, will restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.
Tough Times are training times! (June 14)
1. We are not immune from hardship. (June 28)
There are two kinds of suffering that Jesus endured:
Circumstantial and Substitutional.
2. Our journey through life is often filled with hard places.
Hardship, tests, and difficulties are part of living on earth.
God never promised that life would be easy!
John 16:33 (NLT)
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
3. Sometimes, God allows us to go through a hard place! (July 12)
He may send you into a hard place in life for training…
Deuteronomy 32:11 (NKJV)
As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up,
carrying them on its wings, so the LORD alone led him, and there was no foreign god with Him.
4. Our response determines what the tough times produce in us!
What life finds in us determines what life does to us.
Cup half full or half empty?
You can have the mindset that people are out to get me, or that God is good and all things work together for good.
Are you a victim or victor?
James 1:2 (Phillips)
When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you quality of endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men of mature character, men of integrity with no weak spots.
5. God will make a way for you when the test is on!
Two things will help you when the test is on: True friends, and God and His promises.
Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)
As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
Psalm 37:39-40 (NKJV)
But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in the time of trouble. 40 And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him.
6. Hard times aid character development.
Perhaps the hardships we incur now and just before the rapture during the coming time will fulfill what Paul mentions in Ephesians 5:
Ephesians 5:25-27 (NKJV)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
Romans 5:3-5 (TPT)
But that’s not all! Even in times of trouble we have a joyful confidence, knowing that our pressures will develop in us patient endurance. 4 And patient endurance will refine our character, and proven character leads us back to hope. 5 And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!
Romans 5:3-5 (MSG)
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, 4 and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. 5 In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
Romans 5:3-4 (AMPC)
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. 4 And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
Question – to what area of life is my current circumstance producing pressure?
Self-medicating with overeating, alcohol, drugs (OTC)?
Withdrawal and isolation?
Blame Shifting and “gaslighting?”
Romans 8:28 (AMPC)
We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.
Every single thing that produces pressure can produce positive change in us if we simply humble ourselves and if we yield to God in prayer.
Romans 8:28 (MSG)
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Romans 8:28 (TPT)
So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.
The person that aggravates you the most can actually help you the most!
Marriage can be a great character refiner!
A job can be a character refiner.
Your church relationships can be a character refiner.
People who hop from church to church actually hinder their personal growth process and end up going around in circles!
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.
Romans 8:18-19 (TPT)
I am convinced that any suffering we endure is less than nothing compared to the magnitude of glory that is about to be unveiled within us. 19 The entire universe is standing on tiptoe, yearning to see the unveiling of God’s glorious sons and daughters!
Romans 8:18-21 (MSG)
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NLT)
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (MSG)
So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.
2009/2010 – “Missionary mode”
7. In the tough place, it’s important to pour out your heart to God!
God does not want us to hold things inside. It’s unhealthy in every way.
God wants us to expose our personal pain to Him.
Heat brings impurities to the top with precious metals.
What you think about yourself. Personal stuff.
How people treat you.
Circumstances. Job. Business. Money.
God has helped me with perfectionism, workaholic tendencies, a deep-seated fear of rejection, all during times of great challenge.
Pour out your heart!
Psalms 61:1-5 (NKJV)
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 3 For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. 4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. 5 For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
Allow God into the inner recesses of your life.
Hebrews 4:13 (NLT)
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
**Psalms 34:17-19 (NLT)
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. 19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
**Psalms 34:4-10 (NLT)
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. 6 In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; He saved me from all my troubles. 7 For the angel of the Lord is a guard; He surrounds and defends all who fear him. 8 Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! 9 Fear the Lord, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. 10 Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
I have learned to pour my heart out to God and mention my stress to Him in detail.
We get so busy that we don’t do this as we should!
**Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT)
Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 31 But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.
- What changes have you noticed in your character after a challenging time?
- The next time a challenge comes, commit to allow God to transform an area of your life.
- Have you learned to tell God everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly?