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June 2, 2024

The Spirit Offers Us an Alternative Way

Pastor KJ Kim

romans 5: 1-5; John 16: 12-15

Paul, in today’s other passage from the book of Romans, can speak of “our suffering,” the suffering of the people of Jesus. What Paul means by “our suffering” is the cost that comes with discipleship, that we notice the neighbor and invest in the well-being of the neighborhood. So, Paul reminds us of such obedient suffering, which is the cost of discipleship as we live out the gospel truth.

What I’d like to invite us to pay attention to today’s lesson is about the fruit of suffering and the problem—"look, the passage: troubles produce endurance; endurance produces character; and character produces hope.” The start is a trouble or problem, but the end is hope.

Does it make sense in reality? Isn’t it true that we too often may act out today’s passage like this as we may paraphrase those lines—“Trouble produces anger and frustration, not endurance; anger and frustration produce division and violence, not character; and division and violence produce hopelessness and cynicism.” What we are reminded here is that trouble and suffering can only become hope with and by the Spirit of God.

Actually, Jesus acted out and lived out what it means through his life and ministry—sufferings and problems can be hope—that the cross is the peak moment as Jesus resurrected from his death—"death also can be hope, which is resurrection.”

For our season of transition, I invite us to process and digest today’s passage as a reminder and invitation that offers us an alternative way. We are those who can see a problem, trouble,
or even suffering as a sign of hope in God and the help of the Spirit.

The future belongs to those who embrace the sequence of problem, endurance, character, and hope with God and by the power of the Spirit. We are disciples who have witnessed in the lift of Jesus, who still brings hope to the circumstances, no matter what. And hope should be our main character and true identity as followers of Christ.

Thanks be to God.

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