Romans 12:12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Through the Apostle Paul, God gives us three simple commands in this verse! When I say ‘simple’, I mean it is not difficult to understand what he means – there is nothing mysterious or complicated about the instructions.
The difficulty is, of course, that our innate sinful nature does not sit comfortably with what is required. We are easily discouraged when we reflect on the sad state of our world and our own society at present; like Job (yesterday’s TQW) we find it hard to live patiently with God’s sovereign providence when things go wrong for us; and Satan can be very effective in providing us with convincing attractions (ie DIStractions) to interfere with our prayer life!
Nevertheless, all three are so extremely relevant to our faithful witness today in a culture that is so lacking in ‘hope’, so ready to complain and blame, and that has no place for the True God who has revealed himself so clearly in Creation, in the Bible, and in his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. But we CAN’T do it in our own strength – which is why Paul begins this chapter with “I URGE you, brothers, IN VIEW OF GOD’S MERCY, …”. May we all be ‘faithful in prayer’ for God’s mercy as we express the lasting JOY we have in our hearts because of the eternal HOPE we have in Christ, and as we, with PATIENCE, and without complaining, rest content in his providence that is always working for our good (Romans 8:28). And may this lead many of our friends, neighbours and family to discover this same secret by putting their trust in Jesus.