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Hope, Patience, and Prayer

Hope, Patience, and Prayer

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.

Romans 12:12

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.

Hebrews 11:27

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

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2021 in Encouragement, Faith, Spiritual Walk, Word of God

 

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Focus Determines Attitude

What does your mind dwell on when it’s free to wander?  You need to realize that the things you focus your attention on go into your heart, and eventually, if not taken care of, will come out in your actions.

We’re now getting to the concluding thoughts in Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians.  There are some simple truths that we all need to follow.  No matter what our calling, these are all a part of God’s will for us.

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.  Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

The first is to treat others correctly.  Our human nature wants to retaliate when we’re wronged.  But that’s not the way of the Spirit.

The Greek language of this verse says to watch or stare at so that nobody pays back wrong for wrong.  It’s all about what you focus on.  If you stare at and rehearse what’s been done to you, then you’ll eventually try to “even the score”.

The problem with this is that it doesn’t solve anything.  The retaliation will simply get passed back and forth like a bad potato.  It’s God’s will for us to bring peace into these types of situations.  Only then will people notice that there’s a different Spirit in us than what’s normally in the world.

We’re also encouraged to always be joyful.  It’s a word that simply means to be glad.  Again, it’s all about what you focus your attention on.

There are those who say that they can’t be cheerful because they’ve had such a hard life.  We need to realize that very few people get through life with no pain.  Those who are miserable about their lives are focusing on the struggle.

Please understand, you may have had a hard life.  But the key word is LIFE.  You’re alive.  And in Christ, you have the hope of a great future.  Scripture is very clear that in Christ our past never determines our future – no matter how bad it looks.  You need to be dwelling upon God’s Word, His promises to you, and His ability fulfill His plan in you.

The next is to pray continually.  Paul is actually telling us to worship uninterrupted.  I think that this is one of the most important parts of being cheerful.

Paul doesn’t mean for us to continually be asking God for things.  That’s not the spirit of worshipful prayer.  He’s talking about being conscious of the fact that the Holy Spirit is constantly with us.

It’s like being with a close friend.  In a close relationship, nobody dominates the conversation.  And sometimes you don’t need to talk at all, you’re just glad that you’re experiencing something together.  That’s what true, uninterrupted worship is all about.

Finally, we’re to always be thankful.  Remember, we don’t have to thank God FOR everything, but IN everything there’s always something to be thankful for.  It might be as simple as thanking God for His presence with you.  If we focus on finding something to be thankful about, we’ll have a much better attitude about our situation.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9

It’s clear from Scripture that what we dwell on will determine our attitude, and what we receive from life.

Question: How has your thought life affected your attitude – both good and bad?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2017 in Prayer, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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