Let’s consider some simple principles that will help us to cultivate endurance, reading first what Paul wrote in Romans 5:1–2: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” We rejoice because of what the future holds for us. Paul went on to say that we rejoice not only in the light of the future, but also in what the present offers: “And not only in that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (verses 3–4). Where verse 3 uses the word “glory,” the original Greek word means “to rejoice, boast, or exult.” We should exult in tribulation because of what tribulation does. The New American Standard Bible says, “Tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope.” Perseverance produces proven character in us. This is the heart of endurance—character that has stood the test. As Paul wrote, “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” (Romans 5:5).
Love is a matter of character. In essence, we are dealing with the formation of our characters. We rejoice in tribulation, for tribulation is the only thing that produces perseverance. And perseverance produces proven character. I know men with whom I have walked and shared hardship, opposition, misrepresentation, and misunderstanding. But today, for me, their character is proven; I know I can trust them. In the midst of treachery and lawlessness, I want to know whom I can trust.