What Does Jesus Mean to You?
A devotional by Patricia Russell
“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 5:3-5 (ESV)
Recently someone asked me a question. It was simple and straightforward and yet for a moment, I stuttered. The question was, “What does Jesus mean to you?”
How can I describe in a word all that He means to me when He means so much? How would you answer that question? Let’s try. Can you do it in 15 words or less? Try. Take a moment now to say it out loud and answer the question.
I hope I wasn't alone in the struggle of trying to express my feelings. To describe someone who means everything to you is just not easy. I love the scripture in Romans 5:5 that tells us "hope does not put us to shame." Can you remember times when you have hoped and longed for something, and it didn’t happen when you hoped it would? The only way we get through these times is through the comfort of the love of God. His love reassures us that He not only has our lives in control but that everything that happens while we wait, though it may be hard and discouraging at times, is producing character in our lives.
Read Romans 5:3-4 (ESV) again, which tells us: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
How can we rejoice in suffering? Well, remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:12 (ESV): “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” So, if you’re suffering because of your faith, you can rejoice and be glad for there is a reward awaiting you in heaven! Heaven, you say? Yes, there is a reward in Heaven. We’ll be able to receive it when we get there. This gives me hope!
This great hope reminds me that my life does not consist of what is only here on Earth, in the here and now. I can believe that and rejoice in this fact because God honors His word. God’s word gives me hope. And hope does not bring shame. Hope gives me something to look forward to. This is why Jesus means HOPE to me.
I am always saying God is faithful. He does what He says. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Therefore, I can rest in the promise and truth of His Word. Yes, there will be sufferings, but they produce endurance. Endurance produces character and character produces hope. Don’t you dare give in or give up! Jesus came to this Earth. Yes, He died but He rose again just like He said He would. So, if Jesus did what He said He would do then, you and I can rest assured that the hope Jesus promised when He was here on earth will surely come to fruition.
We will never have to feel shame because we believe what He promised. We may have to wait but remember we are developing endurance in the journey. So be encouraged! He is our hope!
Father God, thank You again for Your Word that never changes. Thank You for sending Jesus Christ who brought us hope for not only today but for the future. In all our grief and in all our suffering we praise You that we are developing endurance that produces character and produces hope. Help us to trust the process in spite of the pain. In Jesus’s Name we pray. Amen.
Song of Reflection: “God is Our Hope” by Toronto Mass Choir. Listen to it here.
Patricia is an encourager. She passionately uses her gifting as an author, speaker, pastor, recording artist, worship leader and coach.
Stronger Resilience: Stories to Empower the Mind, Body & Spirit (a book that she wrote) was an Amazon Bestseller in October 2020.
Patricia sings! She has released two CDs titled Draw Me Nearer and Lord I Trust You.
She also travels to speak to audiences internationally.
When she is not ministering to save souls in God’s Kingdom, Patricia enjoys reading, writing and connecting like-minded people who can sharpen each other in the journey to their dreams and goals.
As a two-time breast cancer overcomer, her desire is to coach others to live life to the fullest by understanding their gifting from God and using it.
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