4 Ways Problems Build Character

“Every problem is a character-building opportunity.”

– Rick Warren

Devotional: 4 Ways Problems Build Character

They Create Dependence on God

When I am in a hard place, my problem makes me do one of two things: Either it makes me keep looking for a solution and, if I don’t find one, keep trying harder, or it makes me think, “Okay God, I need Your help. I don’t know what else to do.” The second one is the wisest, which is probably what God is trying to teach me in the first place, and that should be my first response. Part of having godly character is knowing that we’re dependent upon Him.

They Build Perseverance

Peter writes that we can add “knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness” (2 Pet. 1:6), which is basically the same thing as perseverance. If someone’s standing steadfastly, they are persevering since “the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:7), and this “testing of your faith produces endurance” (James 1:3). Something that’s been tested and found genuine can be trusted, and that trust creates a persevering faith in God. Troubles can be used by God in this way.

Force Us to Give Glory to God

Moses wrote about how easy it is to see ourselves as the responsible party for bringing our blessings, writing, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me'” (Deut. 8:17), so we would do well to “remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today” (Deut. 8:18). God isn’t pleased when we try to rob Him of glory, for He deserves all glory and full credit for all of our blessings (Isaiah 42:8, 11). If we forget this, He may well send leanness of times just to remind us.

They Solve the Sin Problem

When a person finally sees that they are hopelessly lost without Christ and that this sin problem has separated them from God (Isaiah 59:2), it humbles them–at least it should–and forces them to see that without Christ, they have God’s wrath on them (John 3:36b). Even the conviction by the Holy Spirit brings us to the awareness that we need to confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9). This is the best problem of all to have: to be cleansed, to recognize that we need a Savior to pay for our sins, and to bring us into an eternal relationship with God by believing in Christ.


Every single problem that God allows, He does so for our best and for His glory. Every problem can be like a brick that builds a solid foundation of a relationship with God that cannot be shaken or removed, so every problem we have is really a character-building opportunity. The question is, do we see it in this way?