Adversity Refines Character

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You know, nobody likes trouble or times of difficulty. But do you know God often uses the difficult things of life to shape us and to conform us to be the people that He wants us to be? In fact, in Psalm 119 in verse 71, we are told that adversity refines our character. The Psalmist said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” In other words, God allows the trials and the tribulations of life to build our character. Have you ever heard the ABCs of spiritual growth? They go like this: Adversity Builds Character. The Bible compares God’s work of maturing us to the process of refining precious metal. In order to refine precious metal, the ore must be subjected to tremendous heat and liquefied. It is only when the rock is liquefied can the impurities then be removed. In a similar way, God uses the heat of adversity to soften us so He can do His refining work in our character. You see, adversity reveals our strengths and weaknesses. It shows us what we need to add or maybe what we need to subtract from our lives. It reveals what we need to work on or maybe what we need to get rid of. If you have been out of fellowship with God, He may use the hard times to restore you. If we are weak, He may use the difficulties to strengthen us. You see, God uses the adversities of life to make us what He wants us to be. He uses our difficulties to prepare us for future useability. When he was 7 years of age, his family was forced out of their home due to a legal technicality. At the age of 9, his mother died. At 22, he lost his job as a store clerk. He wanted to go to law school but his education was not good enough. At the age of 23, he went into debt to become a partner in a small store. At the age of 26, his business partner died, leaving him with a huge debt that took years to repay. At the age of 28, after courting a girl for years, he asked her to marry him and she said no. At the age of 37, on his third try, he was elected to the United States Congress but 2 years later, he failed to be re-elected. At the age of 41, his 4-year-old son died. At the age of 45, he ran for the United States Senate and he lost. At the age of 47, he failed as the Vice Presidential candidate and at 49 years of age, he ran for the United States Senate again and he lost. So who was this man? Well, he was the person whom many people hailed as the greatest leader in American history. His name was Abraham Lincoln, who at 51 years of age became the President of the United States. You know, these difficulties are not mere footnotes on his way to the White House. No, they are what build his character and allowed him to successfully lead America during a time of great national adversity. You see, God uses our adversity to make us what He wants us to be so He might use us in a great and mighty way. And you know maybe that is what God is doing in your life right now. Maybe He is refining your character through some trial or tribulation. Maybe He is shaping you or preparing you for future useability. My advice: let God have His way. Ask Him: “Lord, what are you showing me? Lord, what do I need to change? Lord, what do I need to add? Lord, what do I need to take out of my life? But Lord, prepare me and use me for Your glory.” And my prayer for you is this: may the Spirit of God take the Word of God and may God richly and wonderfully bless you with it today.