The Simplicity of the Word

As I prayed and pondered about what I could share this month to encourage my sisters in Christ, Romans 12:12 caught my attention during my morning Bible time. “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer ().” That verse is short enough you could memorize it without much effort, if you don’t already know it. Now consider what it would do for your life if you kept it in your heart and chose to do exactly what it says.  

Rejoicing in Hope

In Romans 12, Paul gives many instructions for life with Christ and what that looks like in the nitty, gritty of each day for a believer. In this particular verse, we are to do three things, starting with “rejoicing in hope.” We know what it is to rejoice in something. We are happy and pleased about it, maybe even excited. The Greek word for “hope,” according to Strong’s Expository Dictionary, is used 48 times in the New Testament, and it means: “to anticipate, usually with pleasure; expectation (abstractly or concretely) or confidence: — faith, hope.” We are to rejoice in hope. Here it doesn’t tell us exactly what hope we rejoice in. Looking at all the places hope is used in the New Testament, it has a broad range from the hope of salvation, our place in heaven, to the hope of change for a difficult situation. When our minds go to rejoicing in hope, we move away from fretting, worry, complaining, anger, disappointment, and a host of other negative thoughts and emotions. 

Patient in Tribulation

If that wasn’t enough, next we are told to be patient in tribulation. Paul knows real tribulation! No surprise in what those Greek words mean. “Patient,” again according to Strong’s Expository Dictionary, is: “to stay under (behind), i.e. remain; figuratively, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere: — abide, endure, (take) patient(-ly), suffer, tarry behind.” While “tribulation” is: “pressure (literally or figuratively): — afflicted(-tion), anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble.”

Here is our direction for those situations that are hard, the ones we consider tribulations. Hang in there with a persevering attitude. That 

sounds pretty tough. We don’t see a place for what our normal reactions would be such as escape, fear, or grumbling. Instead, we are to go through it with patience.  

Instant in Prayer

Finally, we have “continuing instant in prayer.” Strong’s tells us “continuing instant” means “to be earnest towards, i.e. (to a thing) to persevere, be constantly diligent.” Earnest, persevere, and diligent give a vivid picture of putting forth effort, not something that simply happens. How often do you find yourself thinking about a situation in your life or a loved one’s life, only to have negative emotions arise? Could that be because you aren’t “continuing instant in prayer” but are allowing your mind to dwell on the troubling situation instead? 

Living It Out

Have you memorized that verse? If you haven’t, what would stop you from it? Then once it is in your mind, I challenge you to keep using it throughout your day. Make sure that you are doing the things it suggests you do, earnestly and purposely. Take your biggest problem causing negative emotions and hold it up to a life lived with Romans 12:12 and see where following the instructions in that verse moves you. I think it will change your perspective, free you from discouragement, remove angry feelings, dismiss bitterness, help you not to worry, and give you a heart of joy. I love this verse, but I need the encouragement I am sharing with you in this Mom’s Corner as much as I think you might. May we be women who live Romans 12:12. 

Adding a P.S. to really conclude this Mom’s Corner! After I wrote it, a couple of situations happened – small in the overall scheme of things – but enough that I started mulling on them, with negative emotions surfacing right alongside the thoughts. Almost immediately, I remembered Romana 12:12 and wanted to do what it directed. Simple – yes! Hard – yes, because sometimes it is almost as if we would like to hold on to the negative emotions so we avoid what moves us away from them. Blessed – absolutely. Peace is a lovely way walk.

Trusting Jesus,
Teri Maxwell