in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
Interestingly enough, the above verse finds itself under the heading “Marks of the True Christian” in my Bible. My ears always perk up at anything that would speak of what it looks like to live a Christ-like life, simply because I want to do just that. And although Scripture is pretty clear on the defining characteristics that would mark genuine faith, people still tend to create their own criteria. Today’s thinking would tell you that it’s all about being a “good person” (whatever that is) and doing “good things” (equally unclear) because to claim ONE Way, ONE Truth, and ONE Life would be too controversial and intolerant. Well, I must say that I’m far more likely to be concerned with what the Lord will think of me than our society and this generation. His truth stands alone, and He’s given us clear and doable instructions.
Be patient in tribulation.
Be constant in prayer.
Let’s take a look at each one. Rejoice in hope. What hope is this verse referring to? What are we to rejoice in? The hope of tomorrow? The hope of a better day? The hope of our dreams coming true? No. We are to rejoice in the hope of glory; the hope that one day, when Christ returns for His own, that you and I as faithful followers of Him will be taken to eternal glory, a heavenly place where tears and death will be no more. The joy of being forever found in His presence, worshiping Him forever. The hope of glory – a place where sadness is wiped away forever and replaced with rejoicing. Rejoice in that hope, that one day The Way, The Truth, and The Life will return for His own.
Be patient in tribulation. I love that this command follows the first. Had the verse begun with the command to endure suffering with pa
tience, one might lose heart. But we’ve just been reminded of the hope to which we cling: the hope of glory! Therefore, whatever tribulation may come, we can endure every trial with patience as we eagerly await the Lord’s return. For it is in the fire that we are refined. If we rush to remove ourselves from its flame, we will fail to be refined to the degree that is necessary for our good. Patience in suffering permits us to remain under the pressure as long as we need to in order to be strengthened by the weight of it. Don’t miss this vital step.
Be constant in prayer. I believe this command was given for the two above reasons. One, because we are to never cease praying for the Lord’s quick return. Trials exist to reveal to us our need for a Savior. When the tide of suffering comes rushing in, it uncovers a deep heart’s desire that would cry out, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus, come.” Secondly, because tribulation in this life is inevitable, prayer is all that much more necessary. To be in constant communication with our Heavenly Father provides hope in the face of trial.
The marks of a true Christian…are these evident in your life? Are you characterized by them?
Rejoice in hope.
ent in tribulation.
Be constant in prayer.
Let His infallible Word be the final say in your life. And be changed by it.
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