Saturday, 16 November 2013
…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; Romans 12:12
Continuing on with his list of admonitions for the believer, we are told to be “rejoicing in hope.” Our hope is the “blessed hope” Paul speaks of in Titus 2:13 which says that we should be, “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…” For the believer, this is the coming rapture of the church. The good thing about the rapture is that even if someone dismisses the concept, it is still coming. They will just be more surprised than those who are expectantly awaiting it. And because of this sure hope, which is so specifically laid out in Scripture, we can not only rejoice in that hope, but we can “rejoice always” as we are admonished in 1 Thessalonians 5:16.
However, even while we rejoice in hope, we are not immune from trials, tests, or tribulations. Paul reminds us of this by saying that we should be “patient in tribulation.” One can’t be patient in what one doesn’t experience. Therefore, it would incorrect to expect the Christian walk to be one which has paths lined with roses and tables that are filled with corn, wine, and oil. Rather, we can and should expect times of difficulty, but we are asked to be patient in them as we are carried through them.
Finally in verse 12, we are asked to be “continuing steadfastly in prayer.” The King James Version says “continuing in instant prayer.” This terminology has since all-but completely lost its original meaning. The idea here is perseverance, not suddenness. Jesus uses the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8 as an example of persistent and continuous prayer.
So, we could ask, what is continuous and steadfast prayer? It is a state of life which asks us to speak to our Heavenly Father rather than gabbing on the cell-phone. We should petition Him rather than the government for assistance. We should pray for the needs of ourselves and others, asking that they be met in accordance with His plans and purposes, not claiming stuff as if He were a cosmic ATM machine. Prayer is to be a continuous stream of communication to God, submitted in humility and yet with confidence that He is listening and handling the requests.
Life application: Living out the many admonitions given by Paul is far more difficult than simply reading them. But by thinking on them and asking for the Lord’s help in conforming to these instructions, it is possible to be molded into such a life. Take time in your prayers today to ask the Lord to change you to be conformed to the person He would truly wish you to be.
Glorious and precious Lord, as I read Your word I’m reminded of the many places I fall short – in my duties to You, in my relationships with others, and in my actions as a member of the human race. Instill in me right thoughts and a heart directed toward proper living so that You will be exalted, those around me will be edified, and that I will be a proper steward of this one life that You have granted to me. Amen.