And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.Romans 5:3-5
As believers, we don’t just glory in what God has done for us, we also glory in what God is doing in us. Salvation always leads to santification. God has saved us from our sin so that He can change us from the inside out, so that we can do good works.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:8-10
In Ephesians 2:10 the Bible describes believers as God’s “workmanship”. The word is transliterated “poiema”. The “poiema” is best understood as “product” or the “thing that is made”. The “poiema” of a writer is his book. The “poiema” of a painter is his painting. The “poiema” of a sculptor is his sculpture.
If we are the “poiema” of God, then what is his brush, his chisel, or his pen? Romans 5:3-4 tell us that God uses tribulations, trials, difficulties, as the tools of his trade to make us into the “poiema” that He envisions. He wants to use us to work for Him in the world. To be used we have to be changed. Tribulation brings about patience, which leads to experience, which convinces us to trust God more giving us hope. Through God being with us in the tribulation, and growing us in it, we are convinced of His love. Why? Because God doesn’t just make us go through the difficulty alone. He indwells us through the difficulty, convincing us of His love, and guiding us through it.
When we go through difficulty, we must remember the aim of God in the midst of it. God allows tribulation to make us into the people of God that He wants us to be. We don’t want to fight God in His process of making us into His “poiema”. The worst thing we could do is to go through the difficulty and not grow, learn, or be changed in any way. Don’t waste what God is trying to do. He wants to teach us patience, experience and hope, and He wants us to know that He loves us.
- If you’re going through something difficult, ask God to make your heart open to what He wants you to learn.
- If you’re not going through something difficult, take time to thank God for the past lessons He has taught you through difficulty.
- If you know of someone going through difficulty, take some time today to encourage them.