50 Letters That Lead to the Transcendent Peace of God and the Joy of the Lord
Romans 12: 12: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, "Some people like to read so many [Bible] chapters every day. I would not dissuade them from the practice, but I would rather lay my soul asoak in half a dozen verses all day than rinse my hand in several chapters. Oh, to be bathed in a text of Scripture, and to let it be sucked up in your very soul, till it saturates your heart!"
Today's key verse is one that we all should seek to bathe in, so that it can be sucked up into our soul and saturate our heart. Too often we can overlook some verses due to their simplicity or the commonality. We hear John 3:16 so many times we can forget to pause at the awesomeness of God's love contained in that one verse. We hear Jeremiah 29:11 so many times we can let it go by our eyes without pausing to bask in the promises God has for our lives and our future. This is how our sword becomes dull. This is how the Word begins to lose its power in our lives.
Romans 12:12 is also such a verse. It is a verse we should not idly pass by (not that any verses are). It is a verse that contains three simple instructions for our daily lives designed to guard against the attacks of the enemy, strengthen our walk and discover the peace of God. The enemy is always seeking to devour and too often we present ourselves as lunch for him because we allow verses like Romans 12:12 to lose their effectiveness in our lives.
The first instruction from this verse deals with a state of uncertainty in our lives. When we are hoping for something, there is something we want which is not fulfilled. We pray to God for the desires of our heart but the fulfillment has not come yet. Remember, God always answers but we are so conditioned to a microwave society that we only accept the answer of "yes." He also may answer "no" or "wait." Somehow we have become conditioned to treat these answers as God not being responsive. Nothing can be further from the truth:
but God has surely
listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Psalm 66: 19-20
Note that the Psalmist does not declare that God said "yes" to his prayer but rather that his prayer has been heard. Too often in modern Christianity we can believe that if the answer is not a resounding "yes" from God that He has somehow withheld His love from us or not bothered to hear us. This first instruction from Romans 12:12 implores us to be joyful in hope. Why? Because too often our joy is fleeting and only based upon the immediate gratification we seek. We desire something, we want it, we ask for it. Then when the answer comes back "wait" or "no" our joy goes out the window.
The problem with that mindset is that we have replaced God as knowing what is best for our lives. The truly Christian life is one that is surrendered to His will because we simply do not have the knowledge or wisdom that God possesses. Yet when we do not get what we desire, we can assume we know better than God. Our joy becomes fleeting. Romans 12:12 starts with a great truism we need to incorporate into our daily lives we need to be joyful in our hope because God hears our prayers, not because He answers the way we want Him to. Our joy needs to be rooted in the omnipotence of God not in the whims of our flesh. Remember: