and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, (ESV)
In the previous verse Paul told us that it is our suffering that produces endurance. None of us enjoys suffering. In fact, we tend to do everything we can to avoid it. Yet, suffering produces endurance. God is not interested in our faith just having a beginning. Our faith has an end in the glory of God. It is a faith that endures through all hardship.
This endurance I like to call "stick-to-it-ive-ness." Yes, I know it is not a word, but you get the point. We stick to it, no matter what. This enduring faith produces character. Have you ever seen a prominent leader in the faith somehow fall away? One of the most notable things we see in someone who falls away is a failing in their character.
Those who do not have an enduring faith will have a lack in their character. A person's character proves to others what is really in their heart. If you do not have a faith that is enduring, you will demonstrate a character that proves your faithless heart. It is important for us to have a faith that experiences suffering, which produces endurance, which produces character.
What next? Character produces hope! The kind of hope that Paul is talking about here is not the flimsy whims of wishes a person may have. Hope in this context is an absolute certainty in God's promises. The assurance of our faith is what comes to mind in this understanding of "hope." Do you want to be assured of your faith in Christ? Follow Paul's words here.
Suffering produces endurance. Endurance produces character. Character produces hope. Are you experiencing this process in your Christian walk? Or are you fighting it? Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you on this journey of faith for the glory of God.