Romans 12:12 (NIV)
12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
The scripture is so good at targeting areas in our life, enabling us to accurately evaluate how we are doing and how we can improve.
Romans 12:12 tells us three things we should “BE”. There is a dynamic in them. That is, the degree to which we improve in one, the others are facilitated and thus we improve practically and incrementally in the other two.
Joy is an essential God-breathed virtue birthed by hope, the certainty that we have about our day and future because He has promised to take care of us, even when everything in our world is saying otherwise.
Patience is “supplied” by hope and joy. As we go through life, we can find our energies running low, waiting for Our Father to intervene. The Psalmist in his weariness asks God, “How long, O LORD?” Another place he says, “Hear my cry…don’t delay….” Or, I would say it this way, “LORD, could you hurry a little? These times we are tempted to wander off the path, looking for another “source”, when there is only One. Isaiah reminds us that “those who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength…they shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 He is always our first choice for every need, Who “commands our strength”, making endurance / patience possible in us.
Faithfulness is the attribute of staying true and not quitting, no matter what. This is especially critical in our prayer lives. Luke 18, Jesus tells a few stories for his disciples to hear so that they might “always pray and not faint (give up).”
These three virtues, we should have, and “excel still more” in. And it seems the “dynamic” works like this: joy is the “soil” for patience to emerge and grow; patience the soil for faithfulness; as our faithfulness grows, so goes our joy, and so on, perpetually.
How do we measure up to this three-question test? Be honest with Him…He knows us through and through. Acknowledge where you struggle and cry out for His help…and HE will!
Psalm 86:16 (NASB)
Turn to me, and be gracious to me;
Oh grant Your strength to Your servant,
And save the son of Your handmaid.
Show me a sign for good…,
Because You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
Psalm 25 (KJV)
25 Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, I trust in Thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.
Part 2 of this study will explore more about “how to” give way and let these virtues flourish. The answer is in Romans 12:1, 2.
Let Him prove Himself, and you will find these qualities yours and increasing; your life will be as He intends. He will get His glory, and you will know the fulfillment for which HE created you.
Oh, to excel still more, I am,