“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
What comes out of your mouth when you do not get your way reveals your “theology of suffering.” It also demonstrates your theology of God and your maturity as a Christian. Jesus was correct when He said that the mouth speaks out of the abundance of the heart (Luke 6:45). Even though you cannot see your heart, you can discern it by what comes out of your mouth, and nothing will give you more clarity about who you are than those moments when you do not get your way.
During seasons of personal comfort, you can manage your words because there are no challenges to your desires. During times when you do not get your way, your practical theology will manifest (Read Romans 5:3-5). Paul had a response to this problem. He taught that your faith gave you access to the grace of God, and through that grace, you stand. The progression goes like this:
How are you living in the grace that God provides you? You can discern the answer by how you respond to suffering. Difficulties do not necessarily have a purpose in themselves because suffering is suffering—everybody suffers. Even the unregenerate world suffers: they become sick and die. They are in traffic accidents and divorce, just like the Christian community. The difference between the unregenerate person who suffers and the believer who suffers is God. Though our lost friends experience the realities of suffering, none of them find faith, grace, endurance, character, or hope.
Christians are the only ones who can experience God through suffering because they have a relationship with Him, and they understand that He is working in their suffering. It is God who is producing Christ in your life through your suffering. Suffering does not produce godlike character qualities. If that were true, the lost person would mature through suffering like a Christian. It is God working through your adversity, bringing out His good purposes in your life. You must choose whether you will fixate on your problems or center your thoughts on God, who is seeking to form Christ in you by the problems you are experiencing.
The words you choose to talk about your problems will provide the information you need to understand how your heart is getting in line with what God is doing in you. The God-centered heart produces God-centered language according to the model that Paul lays out in Romans 5:3-5. This kind of person talks about his problems as enduring through his hardships—a fortified person even though suffering persists. You can understand the character of Christ by the fruit of the Spirit, which will be evident to others through your speech patterns (Galatians 5:22-23).
Ask the Lord to reveal to you each time you grumble this week. When He does, repent immediately.
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).