Living His Word
Romans 12:12 ERV: Be happy because of the hope you have. Be patient when you have troubles. Pray all the time.
At the end of the 12th Chapter of the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul lists a number of qualities that mark what it means to be a true Christian and he exhorts the church at Rome to embody these qualities. His exhortation applies to all Christians at all times. Our verse for today includes three of these qualities.
First, we should be happy because of the hope we have. Although not everything in our lives may be a cause for happiness, we have at least one thing that should make us happy. Hope. We have the great hope of our salvation through Jesus Christ. Whatever may happen in this life, we know that the next life will be glorious. So significant is this hope, there should be an underlying happiness deep within us that cannot be touched or diminished by whatever trouble there may be on the surface of our lives.
Second, we should be patient when we have trouble. If we allow ourselves to be happy because of the great hope we have in Christ, then we will be more inclined to be patient in our trouble. To be patient in trouble means more than simply going through or enduring trouble. The manner in which we endure is all-important. If trouble can overwhelm our patience, then we are still immature in the faith. Indeed, James tells us that we should be joyful in our troubles, because they make us "perfect and complete, lacking in nothing" (James 1:2-4). Instead of trouble overwhelming our patience and our happiness, our happiness and our patience should overwhelm our trouble.
Finally, we should pray all the time. If we refuse to allow our trouble to overwhelm our patience and happiness, then we will be in a position to pray about it. The person who has lost patience and lost happiness has been captured by trouble and tends to forget prayer. The very thing that is needed most is then not put to use. Further, just as happiness and patience can support our prayerlife, so likewise our prayer life can support our patience and happiness. This is because when we pray about our trouble we can also pray that God will maintain and sustain our patience and our happiness through it all.
Today, be sure to package happiness, patience, and prayer together, for they are mutually reinforcing qualities of the Christian life.