“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV).
Are you in a period of suffering or grief? The last two years have been very challenging for many around the world. For some, trials and tribulations seem never-ending. As we reflect on the events in the Ukraine and wonder why God is allowing these events to unfold, we can turn to the Bible for answers.
God often uses difficult times to change our heart and mind and increase our compassion for others. The Greek writers used the Greek word metanoeo to refer to repentance. Metanoeo means to have a change of mind or thought that is so powerful that it changes a person’s way of life. When Jesus began His ministry, He said to repent. This was the beginning of the spread of the gospel, the good news. Jesus was talking about a change of heart toward sin, the world, and our relationship with God. It entails an inner transformation that gives rise to a new way of living that exalts Christ and gives evidence of the truth of the gospel. In John 14:6, Jesus tells us He is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5, NIV).
When we are transformed by the Holy Spirit, we “bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8). Genuine repentance is an inner change of heart and thoughts in all circumstances that produces the fruits of new behavior. The new behavior of acting differently, speaking differently, and living differently will inevitably manifest outwardly because of being made completely different on the inside. If you believe Jesus is the Lord who died on the cross to save you, you will have a changed mind (repentance) about your sin which will produce spiritual maturity.
Do you believe? If you said yes, rejoice in the suffering!
“Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (Ephesians 4:13-15, NIV).