Institute in Basic Life Principles

Giving the World a "New" Approach to Life!

How do irritations help fulfill God’s purposes for my life?

Trading Irritations for Maturity
embracing God’s transforming work in your life

Irritations often expose areas in which you need to mature. God wants every Christian to reflect the integrity of His Son Jesus Christ, and God can work through the people and circumstances of your life to press you toward that point of maturity. (See Romans 8:28–29.)

Although it can seem like a daunting task, God can enable you to respond well to irritations and thereby gain the benefits that He wants you to receive. As God works in your life, you will become more sensitive to the needs of others and encounter new opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ to them. He will help you develop character qualities that honor Him.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus . . . . For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:5, 13).

Face Challenges and Experience Change

Consider how God can use the following situations to help you grow:

  • Difficult people help you develop genuine love based on mature insight.
  • Confusing situations motivate you to maintain inward peace by deliberately and confidently putting your trust in God and the promises found in His Word.
  • Circumstances that bring sorrow teach you how to have joy even in the midst of pain.
  • Inconveniences teach you to be flexible.
  • Obvious needs of others prompt you to be generous.
  • Unwelcome responsibilities help you become consistently trustworthy.
  • Violations of your personal rights remind you to surrender them to God.
  • Temptations teach you to demonstrate God-honoring self-control.

Follow in Christ’s Steps

In the midst of challenges, the Apostle Peter draws our attention to Christ’s example: “For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (I Peter 2:19–23, ESV).

Let Patience Complete Her Work

In several places, Scripture describes Godly character qualities and the blessings that come to those who live them out. Following are a few of the qualities that reflect Jesus Christ and demonstrate the work of God’s grace in our lives.

The Beatitudes (See Matthew 5:3–12.)
  • Humility
  • Mourning
  • Meekness
  • Spiritual hunger
  • Mercy
  • Purity
  • Peacemaking
  • Endurance in persecution
The Fruit of the Spirit (See Galatians 5:22–23.)
  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Gentleness
  • Goodness
  • Faith
  • Meekness
  • Self-control

As you respond to God’s work in your life—through irritations, challenges, joys, or sorrows—He will be faithful to lead you to become more and more like Jesus, Who demonstrated all the qualities of Godliness.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2–4).

For Further Study



I believe that the purposes of suffering are not to prove and polish our faith so much as they are to prove that Christ is all in all. God is not part of our self-improvement program. Suffering comes to us so that we might despair of the failure and futility of self, and let go of it, picking up our cross, and denying self altogether....thereby opening the door for Christ to express Himself in and through us. Suffering doesn't teach us to be more more joyful, peaceful, etc. It drives us to the One who is joyful, peaceful, etc....inviting Him to fill us with Himself as we take self and crucify it and discard it. We can only experience the joyful Christ, the peaceful Christ, etc. God doesn't give us portions of His character to get us through life. He gives us Himself!!

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