We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Blinded by Love

Those who know me know that one of my favorite Bible verses is found in Romans 5, which states that “suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame . . . .” But I realized that I’ve often omitted the last sentence, which states, “because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. ” What does this mean?

I think I have an illustration that might help. You see, hope is the barometer of our spiritual condition. Little hope…little character…little endurance. It is only when we are willing to endure difficulty that hope is realized. I’m talking about a confident hope that motivates and empowers you to endure the most difficult of storms. How? By love…the love of God that is poured out–or, rather–gushed out in your hearts when you endure.

Here’s the illustration. When I was about three years old we were visiting family who lived on a farm. All that I remember about that trip was when I fell down a steep hill that was filled with briers, chickens, and goats. Before I stopped rolling, I felt my dad pick me up, holding me safely in his arms. I don’t know if this was in my imagination but I also remember him kicking a goat that was coming toward us with his horns in the butting position.

You see, my dad didn’t hesitate to consider the danger or the difficulty of rescuing me. His love for me was greater than the suffering he would have to endure. The measurement of our character and hope can be found in the endurance of difficult relationships and circumstances. If we’re complaining about the thorns and briers of life, then it is an indication that our love for ourselves is greater than our love for others and our love for God. Jesus was willing to be injured by the thorns to be able to reach us with His love. It’s our turn now to do the same for others.

Recommended Reading:
The Lost Clue
The White Dove

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