“And not only this but we also exult in our tribulations,
Knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;
And perseverance, proven character;
And proven character, hope;
And hope does not disappoint”
“AND NOT ONLY THIS”
In the previous verse it says that we exult God because of the hope that we have in God’s glory but we don’t only exult God because of the good things but also the ‘bad’ things. We can praise God for everything. Praise God when we are healthy and praise God when we are sick because He has a reason for the sickness and He deserves to be praised (I praise God for the years of sickness because I am a better person because of it). We can praise God when the neighbours have a party and we need to sleep, I can praise God when my wallet gets stolen, I can praise god when someone crashes into my car. We have to praise God for every situation and not just say, “praise You because I wasn’t hurt in the car accident” (although that is good) but also say, “thank you my car was damaged”. Praise Him because He knows why it was damaged. Usually we don’t want to thank God for things that seem ‘bad’ to us but we have to thank Him for everything.
To feel or show great pleasure and excitement, especially about something you have achieved.
To praise someone very much, to lift the person up to an important status.
Other versions say, “rejoice” and others say, “glory”.
We show great pleasure and excitement when we suffer. We praise God and lift Him up when we go through difficult times. We rejoice when we have problems and we glorify God when things are tough. Do we? Usually it’s the opposite, usually we prove to everyone we are going through a hard time, we complain, we cry, we lose our joy and peace, sometimes to the point we can’t eat or sleep. Of course it’s normal to cry during hard times but we must also find a way to praise God and lift Him up. “Thank you God because my boss is mean to me”.
This means problems or difficulties. What would you consider a problem or difficulty to be? For each of us it would be something different and we all face problems daily. For me, I had a major problem with our dog Rikki. She’s perfect in every way except walking. She was sooooo hard to walk, she had no manners, she’d pull hard on the lead and I’m small compared to her so it was difficult to manage, she would chase cats, lunge out at bikes, cars, people and especially trucks (oneday she nearly killed us both), she’s whine at other dogs and was basically out of control. It wasn’t because she was naughty but because she was so excited to be walking but it made my life hell. She’s so strong and she was killing me (my shoulder, my back, my nerves, it was very stressful).
I got help from some experts (dog guru) and they gave me some techniques to put into practise; “easy Rikki”. For one hour every day I did “easy Rikki” and after four weeks the dog was supposed to be cured but there was no difference in Rikki. After six weeks, still no difference and I wanted to give up. I rang another dog school and a lady volunteer came to help me and she told me to use treats.
Months and months went by without change. It was so hard and I wanted to give up training and just forget about it but eventually after six months (that’s 240 hours of training), I started to see a change and slowly, slowly after 12 months (480 hours) of difficulty, I could finally see the result. She’s still not perfect but now she can walk past a cat without needing to chase it, and now we can walk past the river without her pulling me into it as she chases the ducks, now she can walk past dogs without having a mental break down and now she can walk past people and bikes without lunging at them. (I have to confess I didn’t praise God during this time for the difficulty, but I should have).
So this difficult time has now passed but only because of perseverance. There were times when I wanted to give up but I praise God that I didn’t because now I have the result and now I’m proud to walk with my ugly mutt instead of being embarrassed and frustrated. So the tribulation taught me how to persevere and then the perseverance taught me patience (proven character) and self-control and it taught me that hope doesn’t disappoint because I hoped so much she would change and she did and I’m not disappointed, I’m happy.
Other versions say “sufferings” and I think of how sick I was for so many years as an example of suffering and as I said earlier, I praise God for being sick because through that, I am a completely different person. So when we suffer we must praise God because through that suffering we will learn how to persevere and that perseverance will teach us how to become mature in Jesus Christ (proven character). Being sick has taught me humility, compassion, grace, patience and has made me less selfish, less rude, less hard (more soft and more sensitive to others) and helped me to become kinder and more gentle and shown me how to talk to others in a way that is acceptable (but I’m still learning, so I do make mistakes but a lot less than before I was sick) and therefore I praise God for being sick. Being sick and coming out the other side has given me hope that doesn’t disappoint and now I have hope when I go through other sufferings or other difficulties or problems.
Is an attitude of being determined to continue; to try to achieve something difficult; persistence.
It’s an attitude! We must have this attitude when we are going through problems, this attitude of being determined to continue, to push through until we succeed, e.g. prayer.
We must continue to pray, continue to trust God, continue to read the Word of God, continue to fellowship with others, continue to grow spiritually (forgiveness, grace, love, patience, joy, peace, self-control, faithfulness, gentleness, kindness, goodness), continue to spread the gospel, visit the sick, use your gifts etc…. no matter what we are going through. Usually when we are crossing a hard situation it becomes hard to pick up the Bible but when you feel like it’s hard to pick up the bible, that is exactly the time when you need it.
We have to provide proof/evidence that our character is one that represents Jesus and is being transformed. When the fruit of the Holy Spirit is growing in us, then we give evidence to others and ourselves that we are Christians. If the fruit of patience isn’t growing, or the fruit of self-control isn’t growing, then we have to be a little worried. We have to make them grow and the only way is to persevere in those things already discussed (reading the Bible, meeting with others, praying, and making an effort to change).
Be encouraged tonight. This message is to encourage us to persevere and to keep going and to keep hope. Our hope will not be disappointed so whatever you are hoping in tonight, just know that you won’t be disappointed. Whatever your dreams, your gifts, your desires, your needs, your prayers, you won’t be disappointed, just keep persevering and your character will show the proof of your perseverance and you will not be disappointed.