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God Uses Hardship To Build Our Character

Moab has been at rest from youth,
like wine left on its dregs,
not poured from one jar to another—
she has not gone into exile.
So she tastes as she did,
and her aroma is unchanged. (Jeremiah 48:11)

And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.  Gen 19:37-38

The Moabite tribe is the descendant of Lot, Abraham’s cousin (refer to Genesis 19:37–38). This verse implies a spiritual meaning: a person who has easy life from youth, without having struggles, his/her temperament in his flesh is not filtered and purified. Consequently, he/she will taste and smell the same as his/her old nature.

As we believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and the Savior, God starts removing our ungodly habits in flesh like tumors. What is in flesh? It’s opposite to in Spirit. For example, when we feel angry in flesh, we want to immediately blow it out to someone without self-control, as in some people’s old nature or habit.

Meanwhile, God gradually builds up in us the godly characters of spiritual maturity like strengthening muscles. For example, gentleness is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. With that godly character, our feeling can be supernaturally brought under God’s control even without getting angry with something used to upset us. This is freedom indeed.

For God knows His plans for you: plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Therefore, whenever we experience the hardship, thank God for the lesson and learn from it because “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)”.

In the Old Testament, Jacob was born lowly by grabbing his older brother’s foot and later cheated his brother, father and later his uncle as he was cheated by him too. But in his young life, he suffered from leaving comfortable home, being pursued by his brother Esau, spending years of hardworking for his uncle, and not getting his beloved Rachel for his wife as quickly as he desired. Finally, Jacob even wrestled with the angel and then saw God face to face. God gave him a new name, Israel, because he overcame his old nature and God transformed him to be a godly man (Genesis 32:22-32). Jacob’s reverence of love to God was displayed when he worshiped God and blessed his children even on his deathbed (Genesis 49).

We see King David suffered so many trials but would still seek and trust God with all his heart. As David prayed, “I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. That’s His love for us (Psalm 39:9)”. David was proved to be a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).

That’s our hope. The loving God wants to bless us as His godly children. He will transform us. He is building up His holy characters in us. Let’s humble ourselves to trust and obey God. Whenever we feel frustrated, come to God, not arrogantly complaining or comparing with other people; but be still and silent, remembering it’s God’s good plan for training us to overcome our old nature and to become His beloved children after His own heart.

About Manling Chen

Manling was born and grew up in Taiwan. She came with her husband and 2-year-old son to New York, NY, at age 30 to fulfill her dream of studying in the graduate school. She received a black belt in Taekwendo at age 40 and has been applying the Bible truth and discipline learned in the martial art to fight in her faith as a spiritual warrior. She works with God to write and is currently a freelance reporter for a national Chinese newspaper and writer based in Minnesota. Much of her writing is in the areas of spiritual learning, Bible study, parenting, education, Sunday school, opinions, interviews, and people's stories, etc.

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