Characteristics of Christians
Today’s verse from Romans 15 is Paul’s concise description of how God can transform hearts and attitudes when people trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Instead of being filled with fear, anxiety, frustration, and stress, they can now—empowered by the Holy Spirit—be characterized by hope, joy, and peace.
Yet all too often those old emotions come back when circumstances are difficult. We walk around, weighed down with concerns even though Jesus says His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30). As anxious thoughts and hopelessness take over, we not only suffer personally but also cease to be a light in the world because Christ is no longer reflected in our life. On the surface, in fact, we appear just as pressured, stressed, and fearful as those without Christ.
Although we don’t rejoice in the adversities themselves, we can find hope, joy, and peace in knowing that our difficulties aren’t in vain. God may be refining our character and melting away things that don’t reflect Christ. If we submit to whatever road the Lord has chosen for us, His Spirit will guide us and—slowly but surely—produce His fruit.