Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
God calls us individually to do different things in life, but there are also things He calls ALL His followers to, and this verse tells us three things He expects His children to do.
REJOICE IN HOPE
When we look at the three things mentioned in this one little verse, it is interesting that the first thing mentioned is rejoicing in hope, since the other two things are a bit weightier. Isn’t this just like God though, to encourage our hearts first to be exceedingly glad and cheerful in the living hope, that confidence that we have in Him? This kind of rejoicing is one that will only be found in God because the while the world can offer us momentary happiness sometimes, we can only have true joy and rejoicing from the God of our salvation.
As the people of Israel in the days of Nehemiah had gathered and heard as the Law of God was read aloud and explained to the people, the people wept as they heard. And Nehemiah said to them, “And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) And the people’s response was that they all “went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.” (Nehemiah 8:12)
What a beautiful picture that they were stirred to such emotion at hearing the words of the LORD, and yet it was the joy of the LORD being their strength that they were able to make great rejoicing as they carried on in the rest of their day.
BE PATIENT IN TRIBULATION
This is one that I think we all understand in our minds as we read it, but our hearts and emotions can get overwhelmed and we desire for the tribulation, pain, and suffering to leave quickly. The word for “patient” in the Greek means to remain, tarry behind, and persevere and endure. This is the same word used in Hebrews 12 as it talks about Jesus enduring the cross, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)
Our rejoicing in hope flows over into our patience in tribulation. James tells us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) Being patient through the tribulation will eventually yield its fruit as we’re being refined through it. God has His purpose for the things you’re face in your life, and He is working all things for your spiritual good. That in itself is reason to rejoice, and yet we also have the hope of glory in Him, which is soon fast approaching in these end times.
BE CONSTANT IN PRAYER
Prayer is a multifaceted thing in life. It is a loving conversation, cry out for help, plea on behalf of others, and a means of constant connection to God, as well as a spiritual weapon. The word for “constant” in the Greek means to be earnest towards, to be attend to with great care and perseverance, and to attend or give oneself to continually. God intends prayer to be a constant thing in your life, calling you to humility and thanksgiving in it, and He chooses to work powerfully through it.
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” (1 Peter 3:12)
“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16b)
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:16-18)
Our greatest example, Jesus Himself, embodied this Romans 12 verse for us as it describes in Hebrews 5, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:7-8)
Jesus rejoiced in hope, knowing the Father was able to save him from death and would raise Him as prophesied about Him.
Jesus was patient in tribulation, being sought around the region throughout His earthly ministry as He did the will of His Father, all to eventually face the cross, and He learned obedience through what He suffered.
Jesus was constant in prayer, being so fervent that while praying earnestly in the Garden of Gethsemane “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44) And even now, while sitting at the right hand of the Father in heaven, Jesus always lives to make intercession for us. (Hebrews 7:25)
God does not call you to do anything He did not do Himself. Jesus is your hope, joy, intercessor, and mediator.
My dear friend, today I hope you take the time to rejoice in hope, be patient through the tribulation you’re going through right now, and be in constant prayer for all.