Glorying In Your Tribulations

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;”

Romans 5:3 (KJV)

Paul tells us that he did “glory in tribulations.” The Greek word for tribulation is thlipsis. Thlipsis comes from the root word thlibo which means to crowd. So a tribulation is something that crowds me. Too many people on an elevator crowds me. Trying to fix a leak under the sink crowds me. Crawling under the house or up in the attic crowds me. Too much work to get done crowds me. Too many worries to think about crowds me. Too many cars on the Interstate crowds me.

If it crowds me, or rubs me, or makes me uncomfortable, than it could be a tribulation.

Paul was “crowded” by being beaten. Being stoned. Being imprisoned Being shipwrecked. Being hungry and thirsty. Being cold and naked.

My tribulations are usually not quite so dramatic.

Occasionally, someone makes fun of me or ridicules me for my beliefs as a Christian. My tribulations include things like: my car won’t start. A project doesn’t get done on time. A friend confronts me about something I did or said. A deal falls through. A friend lets me down. Someone lies to me. Someone steals my checkbook when I am not looking.

Sometimes our tribulations are more stressful, chronic health problems or short term illness. Lose of a spouse, a child, a parent or a good friend. What am I suppose to do when I am crowded?

I am suppose to “glory in tribulations” (KJV) or “rejoice in my sufferings” (NIV). I am suppose to be happy! Be glad! Rejoice when I am crowded!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 commands me to give thanks in everything. Giving thanks would be a practical way to glory in my tribulations. I would be thanking God for allowing me to experience discomfort.

Some people say grace or give thanks before a meal. They sit at the table and tell God they are grateful for the food they are about to eat. Now imagine sitting around the table with the family and saying grace that the car needs an engine overhaul. That the basement is flooded. That cousin Joe broke his leg falling off a ladder.

Could you do it?

Thanking God proves I am grateful.

Why?

Why would I ever rejoice in my sufferings? Sure, I can go through the motions. But can I be really glad? Really happy? Can I rejoice and mean it?

YES!

Because according to Romans 5:3-4,

Suffering

*

produces

*

perseverance

*

produces

*

character

*

produces

*

hope

And then in verse 5, Paul tells me, “hope does not disappoint us, . . .”

Hope is important to me. Hope inspires me to endure (1 Thess. 1:3) until the end of my life. Walking with God and doing His will for my life.


Can I rejoice and mean it?

YES!

Because according to James 1:2-4

Suffering

*

develops

*

perseverance

*

when it is finished makes me

*

mature and complete

Suffering handled correctly makes me mature and complete! Being mature and complete is important to me. I don't want to be a baby Christian all my life.


Can I rejoice and mean it?

YES!

Because according to 1 Peter 4:12-19, when I suffer, I am participating in the sufferings of Christ. Suffering makes me more Christlike.

Since I discovered this practical discipleship maximizer, I have worked hard to be thankful for the difficulties God allows me to suffer. I have worked hard to rejoice that I am suffering as the Lord Jesus Christ did. I have worked hard to correctly consider suffering as Christlikeness.


Try this:

1. Make a list of the things that are difficult for you right now.

2. Thank God for these difficulties.

3. Rejoice that you are becoming more like the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Posted on June 12, 2008