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Romans 12:12  rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in   prayer;

JOYFULLY in hope

This verse is typical of the a new testament paradox which tells us so often to be glad in all that we have but also to be glad in all that we don’t have – i.e. in our trials and tribulations; the times on the mountain tops and the times in the valleys. We obviously know that circumstances in this life often do not give us reason to be joyful, but we do know that “Hope” is the anticipation of what is going to come.  The main point to this is often take as the believer eventually rising from the dead, becoming like Christ, and going to heaven for eternity. The concept of Joy is mentioned 165 times in 155 different verses through the entire bible (KJV) and therefore there’s no doubt that it’s something that Christians do not live in fully. The Joy of the Lord, count it all as Joy, having the Joy of the God in the Lord and even Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross..,”   What a powerful concept, Matthew Henry writes that: “He had something in view under all his sufferings, which was pleasant to him; he rejoiced to see that by his sufferings he should make satisfaction to the injured justice of God and give security to his honour and government, that he should make peace between God and man, that he should seal the covenant of grace and be the Mediator of it, that he should open a way of salvation to the chief of sinners, and that he should effectually save all those whom the Father had given him, and himself be the first-born among many brethren. This was the joy that was set before him.”  There’s a lot in that, and we don’t have time to go into it all in this post, but if anyone’s interested then be sure to ask.

PATIENTLY in trials

What does it mean to be “Patient in Tribulation”?  I highly doubt that it means that we must lay down to our trials and troubles and let them overcome us.  But, we do know that patience is a desirable character for a Christian.  Hebrews says that we should be making the choice “to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time.”  Does this mean that we should endeavour to be patient in all that we must go through in order to endure until the end of the race? Why, yes, I think it does!  It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy, and it doesn’t mean that we should try our hardest to find an opt-out, but it does mean that we should trust in God, trust in Jesus and rest in patience throughout the hard times.  We also know that this patience and waiting is something which is often linked in with the serving of the Lord, a theme which I have occasionally touched upon in this blog. Serving the Lord can often mean “waiting on the Lord”. Just as those who serve you in a restaurant are called “waiters”, so also Christians are “waiters” too.

FAITHFULLY in Prayer

Finally, we come to the aspect of faithfulness in prayer, which is closely linked with the idea above.  The Greek word, προσκαρτερέω (proskartereō), used for faithfully or continue or whatever else you have in your own translation means “to persevere, or to be constantly diligent” from Strong’s concordance.  So it basically means that we have to be steadfastly attentive to prayer, i.e. praying without ceasing – oh wait, we’ve heard that somewhere before haven’t we?  So in giving complete care an attention to prayer, we are following the will of God also, but we often find that we can get easily discouraged when we feel that our prayers aren’t being answered – particularly when there are no visible results. However, 2 Corinthians tells us that we should “walk by faith and not by sight” we should continue to devote ourselves to praying regardless of how we see things are turning out. Instead we must have faith in all things and faith that everything will turn out for the good. (Romans :8:28)

Although I’ve dealt with these in three different sections, it is important also to consider their relation to one another.  We see in Jamieson, Fausset and Brown: “since it is “prayer” which strengthens the faith that begets hope and lifts it up into an assured and joyful expectancy, and since our patience in tribulation is fed by this, it will be seen that all depends on our “perseverance in prayer.””

Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this study here, and check back for completion of the series.

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Romans twelve (specifically 12:11 today) is one of the few chapters in the bible which deals extensively with the attitudes and characteristics of our Christian life. The idea behind this, and one which I personally strongly adhere to, is that these should be carefully outworked by us in our lives rather than just ‘believed’. Today we will deal with the only one verse in chapter 12 and if you missed the first part on “Worship, Loving and Devotion” then you can check it out here. There will be more to come. Please feel free to share with me what you think on these verses.

Rom 12:11 Don’t be lazy in showing your devotion. Use your energy to serve the Lord.

    The Apostle Paul writes so many times about “Zeal” throughout his many letters, and as the Christian Church (I refer to this without denomination, of course!!) it is important that we begin to take heed of these words. He has spoken about the dangers of Zeal previously, in that we must be careful that our zealousness is for good (Gal 4:18) and that also we must avoid zealous Hypocrites, i.e people who looks only for others to enlarge their own ranks and nor the ranks of Christ. It is in this that this very in the book of Romans tells us its true purpose. Therefore zeal should only be used with the sole perspective of serving Christ the Lord.

    Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 of this study here, and check back for completion of the series.

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