Daily Devotional

Romans 12:12 - “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” NIV

Romans 12:12 is an amazing verse.  John Piper calls it “a description of the Christian life,” and I think he’s right.  Here is a strand of three priceless pearls for us to marvel at.  Not only is each one exquisite individually, but they belong together and shine more magnificently as a set.

Do you ever have a hard time being joyful?  Maybe one of the reasons you feel glum is that you’ve lost your hope.  There is no joy without hope, because it’s impossible to focus on your problems and be happy.  Hope that things will get better is what brings optimism, and out of that optimism flows joy.  This is not a blind hope, of course.  Our hope is in God and his promises.  The Bible calls us to hope in God (Psalm 42:5), hope in his steadfast love (Psalm 33:18), hope in his word (Psalm 119:114), hope in his salvation (1Thessalonians 5:8), and hope in the return of Christ (Titus 2:13)—just to name a few.

When we rejoice in hope, it enables us to step into the second part of this verse and be patient in affliction. I’ve never met anyone who actually enjoys practicing patience.  But I’ve met a lot of patient people who exude peace.  They’ve discovered that fretting doesn’t make anything better, it only makes things worse.  Another helpful tip is to remember that suffering is temporary.  (Remember the hope we just talked about?)  We can patiently endure affliction when we keep in mind that someday it will end.  So, either we can choose to be miserable, gripe, complain, mope and whine. Or we can embrace patience as a necessary and inescapable part of life.

Finally, Paul adds one more priceless pearl to this sentence—be faithful in prayer. And this is our secret weapon, the resource God has given us to prevail in our suffering and persevere to the end.  Prayer changes things.  Prayer brings heaven down to earth.  It unlocks and releases the mighty blessing of God.  And not only that, it ushers us into the presence of God, where we find comfort in our sorrow and fellowship in our time of pain.
Years ago, I used to enjoy watching the TV show Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  In that game show, contestants are given three lifelines to help answer questions when they get stuck, and one of them was called “Phone a Friend.”  They could literally call a friend and ask for help to answer their question.  When was the last time you called God?  He has the answer to every question.  He knows what you need before you ask.  He always picks up the phone.  And there’s no limit to the number of lifelines he will give you.

So, matter what you’re going through today, hold onto these three precious pearls.  Be joyful in hope.  Be patient in affliction.  Be faithful in prayer.  And remember that this is a normal part of the Christian life. 
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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