As we continue through Romans, Paul is giving us a list of things that should be in place in the life of a mature believer. Remember, these are very frustrating to accomplish without first going through the “boot-camp” of chapters 8-10.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
It’s amazing that there’s so much to learn from such a short verse! There’s a lot of truth contained here.
First, we should be joyful in hope. That literally means that you cheer yourself up by your hope. So, the question is; what is hope?
In our modern culture, we’ve defined hope as a strong desire. “”I want to go to the beach tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t rain.” That has nothing to do with the scriptural concept of hope.
In the Bible, hope is what you expect, based upon God’s Word. God says something, and because we trust Him, we expect that what He said will happen.
So, let me ask you; what do you expect from God? Do you meditate on it and what the Word says about it? Do you use this expectation to build yourself up emotionally?
Next, we should be patient in affliction. I don’t like the sound of that. It literally means that when under pressure, we remain patient while staying under it.
I have to tell you that this is easier to do when you’re rejoicing in your expectation. The fact is that we’ll always have pressure. Furthermore, you can’t do anything about the pressure anyway.
The best way to weather it is to put your expectation in God. Find out what He says about your situation. Then, trust the Lord to bring you through it.
Our human nature is to stop looking to God and to start looking for the way out. In most cases that’s not helpful because we don’t have the ability on our own. The best course is to look for guidance and strength from the Holy Spirit. Trust Him to bring about the victory.
Finally, we are to be faithful in prayer. That phrase literally means to be strong toward prayer. This means that you press into the place of prayer even when you don’t feel like it. We see this exemplified in the life of Moses.
By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
The word, persevered, in this verse is the same as faithful, above. Moses remained strong toward God. I believe that’s done by staying strong in prayer.
Think about these three exhortations. They all work together. You really can’t separate them if you want a successful Christian walk.
It’s like a great circle of faith. You can’t be patient under pressure unless you’re joyful in your expectation. Then again, you can’t be strong toward prayer unless you have a patience to endure. And, you can’t have a full expectancy from God unless you’re faithful in prayer.
This is why we should be striving toward maturity. It’s like a snowball of grace, rolling down a hill and growing as it goes.
In his letters, Peter talked about a number of things that should be growing in a believer’s life. I believe that what he said about them could also be applied here.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:8
Our goal should be daily growth in Christ. I realize that most of the time it’s too slow to even notice. But, it’s taking place just the same, if we follow the Lord’s plan.
Question: How have you seen these three qualities at work in your life?
2021 Nick Zaccardi