A Verse to Live By - Week of December 20th
By Judy NicholsDecember 20, 2015
Romans 12:12 says, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." What a succinct statement of how we are to live! It pretty much covers everything.
We are to rejoice in hope because, for the Christian, things are never hopeless. No matter what happens to us here and now, we have before us the blessed hope of eternity with Jesus. The Apostle Peter expressed it so well. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:3-5). The hope of what is to come in and for all eternity really does anchor our souls against the buffeting of the world.
And the world does buffet us, hence, "Be patient in tribulation." Jesus said, "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). He said this, "so that in Me you may have peace" (ibid.). The world is a crazy, evil place right now, but Jesus has conquered it. He forever defeated sin, Satan, and death at the cross and we can (if we keep our focus there) rest peacefully in that knowledge. God is still on the throne; JesusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ victory is still in effect. Evil will not win in the end. Moreover, we can be confident that no tribulation can ever separate us from GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s love (Romans 8:35). No, "in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us" (v. 37). JesusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ victory is our victory, as He "always leads us in His triumph in Christ" (2 Cor. 2:14).
How do we do this? "Be constant in prayer." This, it seems to me, is not so much a matter of repeatedly bringing our list of needs and wants before GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s throne as it is a matter of just living in a sense of dependence on God, of keeping His truth and His promises in view, and living our lives based upon them. There are some practical things that play into this, as well, things that can cause our hearts to become hard, thus hindering that close communion with God. Unrepented sin and unforgiven offenses are what come to mind. Humility is required because, even as saved individuals, we know we are still fully capable of immense sin and still fully incapable (in our selves) of being acceptable to God.
Which brings us back to the blessed hope Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the knowledge that it is GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mercy alone that has caused us to be born again and set this marvelous hope before us. In this we rejoice, yes, we will rejoice!
Ã‚Â© Judy Nichols 2015