Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12, NIV
This is such a familiar verse. We see it all over coffee mugs, t-shirts, and refrigerator magnets. I want to encourage you today to be careful to not let familiarity lead you to forget the power of the message.
The above sentence in Romans 12:12 is actually phrased as 3 directives or commands. They are not suggestions or options. We are to do these things, whether we feel like it or not.
- Be joyful in hope: Be filled with joy. But how shall we fill ourselves with this joy? The answer is Jesus! If we are His, we have this hope for the future because our eternal address has already been determined. 2 Cor. 4:17 says “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” However challenging our lives may be, it is nothing compared to the lasting joy of the hope we have in Christ.
- Be patient in affliction: Personally, I find this one to be the most challenging. Patience is a virtue that God’s been working on in me for years. I’ve come a long way, but still have room to grow. Being patient is tough enough before adding in affliction. No one likes affliction, and when it happens, we want it gone as quickly as possible! We definitely don’t want to endure it patiently…but that is what we are commanded to do. Jesus set a perfect example of patience in affliction for us. Remember His final hours before the crucifixion?
- Be faithful in prayer: In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). A few verses later, he repeats the same prayer. Then Luke 22:45-46 says, “When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’ ” Jesus models faithful prayer twice, and twice he reminds His disciples to pray. Repetition always signals emphasis, and here Jesus directly stresses the importance of prayer, especially during affliction.
Obeying God is often difficult and sometimes scary–but that’s what makes it faith. The good news is that we know that God is for us…and therefore, obedience will always, always be the right choice.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Word, which guides us and teaches us in every season of life. Thank you for giving us Jesus, fully man and fully God, as a model. Thank you for filling us with Your Holy Spirit, which enables us to obey You and Your Word. Thank you for Your precepts and the promises that go with them. Thank you for being our loving Father, whom we can trust and hope in eternally. Amen.
Copyright Rhapsody Jordan-Parisi.
Rhapsody is a member and high school English teacher from North Carolina. She is passionate about helping struggling teachers strike a balance between success and sanity at her blog, tightropeteaching.com.