05-09-13 4“Never be lacking in zeal,but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”    Romans 12:11-12

Be joyful, patient, and faithful – there are many times in our lives when following these three commands can seem to be almost impossible.

JOYFUL IN HOPE – We may be in situations or circumstances in our lives when we try desperately to be joyful, hoping there is a way out and things can get back to normal again, but that hope is a dim light far in the distance. How can joy enter the scene when hope appears to be fading? The answer can be found in this question – On what are you placing your hope? If all our energy is focused on hope based on human terms we will become discouraged, as that kind of hope falters. However, if our hope is on God and what He has in store for us joy will abound. He has a life waiting for us that we can never imagine. We can be joyful in the hope of the eternal life promised by God through His son Jesus Christ. Joyful hope in Jesus or despair found in hope of the world?

PATIENT IN AFFLICTION – I don’t know about you, but patience is not a strong virtue for me. Look around. Our society is not based on patience. We want everything now, especially if we are in adversity, illness, or grief. We want the pain to end immediately. Having patience while dealing with the pain is the last thing on our minds. But God wants us to be patient. Why? He wants us to slow down, really look at what’s going on, and turn to Him. We must place our worries and anxieties on Him. Then He will give us the peace and patience to let Him work things out in His timing, lifting the burden off our shoulders.

Which leads us to FAITHFUL IN PRAYER – Why is it that people remember to pray when things are horrible? A disaster strikes and people flock to churches to pray. Life gets back to normal and churches are empty again. God does not want to hear from us only in difficult times. He wants to hear our praise and thanksgiving when things are going well, too. Being faithful in prayer means conversing with God daily, not just when we want something from Him. God wants a loving, close relationship with us. Just like family members love to hear the good things happening in our lives as well as the struggles, God wants to hear about them.

Think about this – if we pray often and build a strong, positive relationship with God it will be easier to be joyful in hope and patient in affliction because our trust for all things will automatically be in Him.

Joyful, patient, and faithful – to what degree are you following these commands? Every one of them is possible if we put God ahead of our human understanding.

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