We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance. —Romans 5:3
What makes a shiny apple look so delicious? The skin, of course. But what is it about an apple that actually makes it delicious? The juice and substance inside. That’s the apple’s real “character.”
I learned this as a boy watching my mom make applesauce. With a wooden pestle, she would mash the soft, boiled pieces of apple through a metal colander and into a bowl, until all that remained in the colander were drab, flattened skins. But oh, the sauce tasted so good!
God uses life’s pressures to bring out the sweetness of Christlike character in us. Tribulation (which means “pressure” in the Greek) also helps us realize the awful potential of our sin nature and see it for what it is—ugly and tasteless. Under pressure, all kinds of sins begin to surface—greed, selfishness, lust, pride.
Pressure, whether from without or from an unrealistic perfectionism within, is a fact of our fallen world. God controls its intensity and duration so that we can recognize, confess, and renounce those fleshly “skins” that obscure Christ’s character in us.
Tribulation is not something anyone seeks. But when it comes, the Holy Spirit will use it to create in us perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3-4).
Dennis J. De Haan
All God’s testings have a purpose—
Someday you will see the light;
All He asks is that you trust Him,
Walk by faith and not by sight.
The gem of Christlike character is formed by pressure and refined by friction.