Adversity Builds Endurance
If you can manage to yoke yourself to Christ in the middle of adversity, your spiritual growth will be off the charts. That's because the majority of the time when life is grand, our yielding ability is almost non-existent. This is probably why Paul, for example, went through trial after trial and ended up writing half of the New Testament. As a result of yielding, he had more of God. When you are filled with more of God, you are indelibly different than you were before. The fruit of the Spirit flows from you in greater measure.
Don't “work on” the fruit of the Spirit like you've been taught in Sunday School. That's wrong. Fruit is fruit. It's what automatically happens when the Holy Spirit is there.
So you're in the middle of a trial, are you? Maximize your eternal treasure and stop fighting. Yield. That's the whole point of every bit of adversity in your life, to build your endurance. And how is your endurance built? By opening your eyes to the fact that you are empty, and that you don't have the resources to get through this. When the trial seems too much to bear, you need a miracle. That miracle is you yielding long enough to be transformed into the image of Christ.
And even when the trial is over, if you have stood the test and yielded, even if you stop yielding (please don't stop yielding; that's the whole point of life; walking by the Spirit), your character has changed for the better as a result of the adversity.
Adversity also gives you a more accurate perspective on life. You see what matters and what doesn't matter. If you were attacked with a gun to your head during a robbery and you thought your life was over, on a different occasion when your house burns to the ground, you almost don't even care as long as your family is okay. You don't perceive yourself as having rights that you don't really have. God is God, and we are nothing. We have no rights. Our American way of life has made us arrogant and demanding. Trials will purge us of this.
If you allow God to fill you up during adversity, He will burn off sin in your life, and the pain of the trial is folded into the pain of the sin being burned off. You will never have more of God without letting go of all the sin in your life. The more sin you let go of, the more God is able to fill you.
So yield. And keep yielding. Becoming bitter about the situation wastes the pain. Don't waste any pain that comes your way. Allow God to transform it into character.
“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (I Peter 5:10 NASB)