“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5, NLT
As a young scientist, I often wondered what would happen if I attached enough balloons to a chair. Would they lift me into the air? What if I filled the balloons with something besides helium? Well, I believe in research before starting an experiment, and I also believe in safety first. I never did attempt my idea because I discovered I had a major problem: I’m afraid of heights!
But in my research, I realized that you couldn’t fill a balloon with just anything—in fact, some gases used to fill balloons can be dangerous. It is believed that a famous airship named the Hindenburg caught fire many years ago because of static electricity and a leak of hydrogen gas. The fire spread and destroyed the airship. And if you fill a balloon with water, it won’t float up into the air, though you could sure have a lot of family fun with water balloons. Hydrogen can cause fire, and water is too heavy, so you’ve got to fill your balloon with the right thing to make it work.
Our hearts are the same way. I’m not talking about the muscle in your body that pumps blood, but the heart that allows us to feel and show love. What we put into our hearts matters. If we are around people who use foul language, we may find ourselves eventually using those words ourselves. Or if we spend time with friends who gossip and lie, we may find ourselves doing the same without really thinking about it. If we eat unhealthy foods, our body may become run-down and more likely to get sick. What we consume affects our body, mind, and heart. These things can even change how we view the world and can slowly move us away from God’s plan for our life.
But there’s another way! Read Romans 5:3-5 to see what God wants to do in our hearts.
We can trust that God loves us, and he gives the Holy Spirit to guide us each day and fill our hearts with hope and love. As the challenges of life help us develop strong character traits grounded in our hope of salvation, we’ll draw closer to God. His love will fill our hearts—kind of like the balloon in our experiment—and even spill over to others!
As a family, take a moment to pray for each other by name—that each of you would have the strength and courage to stand strong in your faith, even in the face of adversity (which means a challenge).
Questions for Reflection
We know that God loves us—we can read about how much in John 3:16. List people in your life who love you, and thank God for them!
I believe in the four Fs: Faith, Family, Fun, and FIZZ!