God Will Finish What He Started
When you were first saved, God began a new work in you; but you were certainly not a finished product. You had a lot of growing to do. God started something in you, and He is the one that will complete it. The Bible says in Philippians 1:6, “… He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it …” He wants to build character into your life, and according to Romans 5:3-5, there are four ways He does this: “… we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
I’m sorry to begin this way, but verse three says the process begins with tribulations. The word tribulation literally means “pressure.” In that day, it was the word used to describe the crushing of grapes or olives. In order to produce wine or oil, the grapes or the olives had to go through tribulation.
God wants to bring out the wine of joy and the oil of gladness in your life, but the only way He will get it out of you is to press it out. Men throw broken things away, but God never uses anything until He first breaks it. Are bad things happening to you right now? Are you feeling pressure? Don’t think of it as an obstacle; but rather see it is an opportunity. They are things God has engineered to build character into your life.
You may say, “If that’s what it means to be a Christian, then I don’t want any part of it.” But understand, you’re going to have tribulation whether you’re a Christian or not! However, the child of God can see that God has engineered it and say, “I glory in this tribulation.”
What do you do while you’re in the wine vat being pressed? Well, the Bible says, you are to develop a character trait known as patience. You have to experience the pressure in order to have something to be patient about. The word literally means “endurance” or “constancy.”
When troubles come, some Christians just drop out. Others get cynical and shake their fist in the face of God. Is that what you do? But you must endure! God wants to develop your Christian character. And one of the greatest marks of your faith and your confidence in the Almighty is your endurance, your perseverance, and your constancy when trouble comes.
PurityAfter pressure and patience comes purity. Paul used the word experience that is translated many times as character. The word was actually used to speak of gold that has been put in the fire and refined until it is pure. God wants your character to be pure because it has gone through the experience of tribulation and perseverance. So He burns the dross (the impurities,) out of your life. They say that a refiner knows the gold is pure when he can see his own face reflected in it. Likewise, our Lord wants to see His character reflected in us.
Many of us don’t want that. But when do we really grow in our spiritual lives—when everything is smooth or when we experience trouble, heartache, pressure, and pain? We grow when we have nowhere to go but to God. That’s when we are refined and made pure.
Now we come to the fourth quality used to build Christian character—hope. Hope doesn’t mean just a wish or a desire. It means rock-ribbed assurance based on the Word of God and the character of God. When we go through pressure and receive patience and purity, we come out on the other side knowing that God is faithful. When that happens, we can say with the apostle Paul in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” One descriptive definition I read is, “Hope is faith in the future tense.” Hope is one of the greatest assets we have. In fact, if you don’t have hope, you don’t have anything!
Are you trying to build character with no foundation? Once you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, then upon that Foundation, Christian character is built. Then He can grow your Christian character by first of all pressure, then patience, after patience, purity, and finally rock-ribbed confidence in Almighty God.All active news articles