Romans 5:3-4 And not only that but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
I want to share with you a word that Holy Spirit put in my heart for you today. It is a reality that we cannot get away from whether we are born again or not. It is just part of the mix of life that we have to expect and accept if we intend to run this race successfully.
Yes we all know from experience that this world is full of troubles and many of those troubles have spilled over into our lives. But what I think many of the saints tend to forget is that it is biblical. Psalm 34:19 reminds us that many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord shall deliver us from them all. This is the great hope that we have as believers. No matter what it is that we are facing, we have an expectation that God will deliver us.
In my 40+ years of walking with the Lord I have experienced many hiccups, handicaps, and hardships. One of the greatest revelations that I have had is that all of them did not come from the devil. In my early years I blamed every bad experience on the devil. As I developed my relationship with God, studied the Word of God, and matured in my Christian walk , I began to realize that even God will use some things that don't look good or feel good just to get good out of us! He used the belly of a whale to get good our of Jonah. He used an all night wrestling match to get good out of Jacob. He used a prison cell to get good out of Paul and Silas and He will use whatever circumstance is necessary to get good out of us!
HICCUPS - When you face a hiccup it means to experience a temporary decline, setback or interruption. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up. What this passage of scripture is saying to us is that we can easily overcome hiccups if we just begin to make better choices about how we walk out this Christian life.
These hiccups will cause a temporary interruption in God's plan for your life...caused by you and your choices. That means that the devil didn't do it! God didn't do it! The devil can't fix it! God won't fix it! You have to fix it! And you can do it because you have a great cloud of witnesses in the heavens cheering you on. But you have to do the work. You have to make the choice.
YOU CANNOT DO WHAT EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING AND EXPECT TO BE WHAT GOD HAS CALLED ONLY YOU TO BE!!!
HANDICAPS - Handicaps are a little different from hiccups. A handicap is any disadvantage that makes success more difficult. And let me say here that if you don't correct your hiccups you will end up with a handicap.
Handicaps can be the consequences from somebody's sin or iniquity that has been passed down through the bloodline. Generational curses have definitely created handicaps in all of our lives in one way or another. The good news is that through the blood of Jesus we can be delivered from all handicaps. The other news is that sometimes that is not the will of God for us. Sometimes handicaps are necessary.
Paul makes this very clear in 2 Corinthians 12:7 MSG, "Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations."
WHAT!!!! Can you imagine seeing your handicap as a gift? If you read further in this text you will see where he continues and says, "I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift."
Can I encourage you today to just shift your focus off or your handicap and begin to focus more on your purpose? That handicap is for your benefit! It may make success difficult, but it won't make it impossible!
HARDSHIPS - A hardship is a condition that is difficult to endure; suffering; deprivation; oppression.
The first two verses of Romans 5 talks about all the wonderful things about being justified by faith and having peace with God. It speaks about our access to God's grace and rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God. But it is verse three that gives most of us pause. It begins with four very troubling words..."and not only that,". In others words, while you are shouting over the good stuff there are some other things that God will use to pull a praise out of you. The text goes on to say that, "but we glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope."
Let me help you with these words. Glory=rejoice. Tribulations=afflictions. Afflictions=suffering/hardships. Perseverance defined is continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure, or opposition.
Hiccups, handicaps, and hardships are constant in the life of the believer. They are useful for the development of your faith and your character. But guess what else is constant in the life of a believer? Hope and victory!!!! Verse 5 of Romans 5 says this, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
Let me close by saying that I know that some of you are going through some rough times right now. But let me encourage you to continue to persevere. Know that God is faithful. He loves you too much to leave you and He has given you the Holy Spirit to empower you to overcome and to comfort you in the process.
You are destined to win!!!!