A Productive Pattern

There is a biblical pattern of how God develops our character. It is found in Romans 1:1-5.

It begins when He takes control of our expectations. Note they are our expectations. Often they stand in the way of God’s intended desire for us. Sometimes our expectations result in suffering, tribulation. It becomes the seed bed out of which grows character having a fragrance called hope.

The process is seen throughout the Bible. It involves:

Anticipation, followed by frustration, resulting in realization. Examples are:

Abraham, who had a son he loved. God had promised him an heir and his anticipation was realized. Many of God’s promises were embodied in Abraham’s son Isaac.

Frustration. Then God ordered him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. On Mount Moriah Abraham built an altar and placed Isaac on it. That hope was about to be dashed. God never wanted a human sacrifice, but He knew Abraham’s love for the child. What God wanted was to give Abraham an opportunity to demonstrate that his love for Him was greater than his love of his most beloved object, Isaac. Once Abraham raised the knife to sacrifice Isaac and thereby demonstrated his love for the Lord by obedience, God stayed his hand. The child was spared, hope lived.

Realization. Isaac was the child through which Abraham was to be blessed, and indeed he was.

A second example is Jesus, the Son of God.

Anticipation had long existed that Messiah would come. Jesus’ followers had great expectation, Jesus, Messiah, was here.

Then came the cross and frustration. Hope was lost.

Three days later came the resurrection and realization. 

Has this pattern ever played out in your life? Perhaps it is at work right now, even resulting in frustration.

God is at work building character in us by keeping hope alive. Give God time to be God. In your hours of frustration live with hope and faith so that when your hour of realization comes you won’t be embarrassed when you look back on your conduct during your frustration.

Believing in Him means to accept the facts and trust the person. Consider this example. Assume we become friends, and my wife and I have the good fortune of you visiting us overnight. The next morning you come to the breakfast area. You skin color is pallor, you have sharp pain on the right just below the ribs. Those are symptoms of appendicitis. I say to you, “Our close friend is a physician, he lives at 769 Dear Run Road, his phone number is 604-379-8923, he is board certified and works at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. Do you believe that?” 

“That is good news. If you say it, I believe it.” 

“Wonderful, you are well, you believe the facts, your pain is gone.”

No, you aren’t. The facts become real and relevant when you let me take you to the hospital where we are met by the doctor who runs tests that show you have appendicitis. You then must submit to the doctor’s scalpel. You must trust the person to be healed. Likewise we must trust Jesus, that is, submit to Him.

First, you accept the facts. That is good, BUT you then must trust the person. Applied, that means you must believe such facts as Jesus, in love for you died on Calvary as a sacrifice for your sins. If you do, that is good, BUT now confirm your salvation by trusting the person, Jesus.