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“…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

Although the call to the cross is a call to suffering and a call to embrace the trials of life (and not run from them), it is also a call to experience the resurrection power of God in the sanctification of our souls.

As we experience deeper levels of God’s faithfulness to us in our trials (our cross-bearing), and we see how the Lord works all things (even really bad things) together for our good; our faith in Him is strengthened. When we experience the merciful compassion of God as He refines us and blesses us as a result of our trials; our gratitude towards Him increases (James 5:11). As we grow in our faith in God and our gratitude towards God, our understanding of His wisdom in ordaining our trials also grows. As our understanding of God and His wisdom grows, we have an increased ability to trust in God’s Word- to rest in His ways, and therefore, we have an increased desire to endure in our obedience to His Word. As we endure in the obedience of faith, we become steadfast in our character. That is: we become more like Christ in our attitudes, words, and actions. Hence, we become holier- more sanctified. That is why the Apostles speak about trials and suffering like this: “…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, See also James 1:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6.)

And this is also why Christ calls us to answer the call to the cross, and to embrace the suffering and hardship in our lives as opportunities to trust God and experience His soul-resurrecting, character-sanctifying power.