“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but 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 5:1-5 ESV)
In the immediate aftermath of God’s delivering Christian from his great and heavy burden unto salvation, and his encounter with the three shining ones (God the Father; God the Son; God the Holy Spirit), Christian is filled with the joy of his salvation.
Christian then meets three individuals who remind him of what he used to be. He wants to witness to them and try and help them. Their names are Simple, Sloth and Presumption. They represent three types of indifference to the Word of the Cross.
Simple says, “I see no danger.” Sloth says, “Let me sleep a little more.” Presumption says “I can make it myself without any help from anyone.” Because of these responses, Christian continues on his way.
Thereafter, Christian meets Formalist and Hypocrisy. Formalist is a person who practices religious rituals but does not possess true salvation (Matthew 7:21-23). Hypocrisy pretends to be a follower of Jesus but he lies (Matt. 23).
Following Christian’s conversion and God delivering him from his great and heavy burden of guilt and sin, he encounters the Hill of Difficulty. What are examples of the Hill of Difficulty for the believer in Christ.
I have trouble asking for help for myself but please pray for me as I am having difficulty dealing with depression. Some days I feel I am doing so well but at other times I can barely make myself get out of bed. Most times I’m ok, but lately it’s been tough.
I am having difficulty overcoming anxiety. I worry over a lot of things. Just a comment from someone can send me into a fear state of what may happen or could happen.
I am wrestling with the difficulty of cancer. I know God is in control, but it is hard to be a Christian when your head is in the toilet.
Difficulties are troubles or struggles in the believer’s life. While difficulties and troubles may seem strange at first, they serve a purpose; to test our faith and to prove the reality of our conversion. Sometimes, like Christian, we go from running the Christian life to walking, to climbing, to crawling because the Hill of Difficulty is so steep.
Other roads in life may seem easier, but they are filled with danger and destruction. Only when we have finally ascended to the peak of the Hill of Difficulty may we look back and see how God has led us all the way. The days of our greatest struggle become the days of God’s greatest blessing. Simply put, the truth we must understand is that “life is hard, but God is good.”
I encourage you to meditate upon today’s text. May each of us “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.”
Soli deo Gloria!