Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12 ESV
Recite using the acronym:
R I H , B P I T , B C I P . ROMANS 12:12
Read Full Passage HERE
At the beginning of chapter 12, Paul exhorts us to present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice, stating that this is our spiritual worship. The following verses that make up the chapter are examples and explanations of how we present our bodies as living sacrifices. In this surrender of our lives, we are no longer conforming to this world but being molded and shaped into the perfect image of Christ. This continual process of chipping off the old self, doing away with the lies we’ve been believing, and breaking our sinful patterns, is called sanctification. It is the marathon of our life, one we need patience for. We must ask God daily to sanctify us and make us present our bodies as living sacrifices because sometimes we are reluctant to do so on our own. The growth that we seek is often gradual to the point that it is only noticeable when time has passed, and you look back, not often seen in the present moment. This requires patience from us, patience that is a gift of grace from the Holy Spirit.
We find verse 12 right in the middle of the “marks of a true Christian” that Paul wrote to the Romans. As my eyes scanned the lines I began to feel both encouraged and convicted, encouraged at how far and long I’ve walked since the time which I first believed and also convicted for the necessary growth that I must still walk in, but eager to do so. Maybe you're like me and need to be reminded of these marks every day. Paul says the true Christian is genuine, abhors evil, clings to good, shows brotherly love, shows honor, gives encouragement, is zealous for good works, fervent in spirit, a servant of the Lord, a rejoicer in hope, patient in trial, constant in prayer, blesses his persecutor, lives at peace, is humble and meek, honorable, trusts God’s righteous judgment, good to her enemy, and ultimately overcomes evil with good. This long-winded and exhaustive list of how we are called to live demands a need for something greater than us. To even attempt to fulfill this list, we must first be filled with The Spirit. This is why I think verse 12 is so vital; we must be constant in prayer and patient in trial. One of the greatest tragedies is that some will leave the road to heaven, not because they don’t want to follow Christ, nor are they even tempted to choose the world, but simply because they are tired. Tired of taking two steps forward and yet again one step back. Tired of running a race toward a finish line they can’t see. Maybe you’ve been running so hard that delusions have rushed in, telling you that you haven’t gotten anywhere. Maybe you’ve asked the question, even today, “how did I get here?”
Have you been so focused on your own willpower that you’ve lost sight of the will of God?
Have you fallen so deep that you forgot the deep richness of God’s grace?
Child, who told you that growth doesn’t take time?
When did you start believing that holiness had to come swiftly? When did you start thinking your growth was more important than the grace through the watering of the gardener? Maybe the hurried world around us has warped our hearts too long for instant gratification, instead of the patient endurance of faith in which we were first called. Scripture gives us the long-suffering and patient endurance, not so we would stop praying big prayers or grow complacent, but that we would have patient-enduring faith in the midst of the race. There will never be a day in which we don’t need the grace and healing power of our Savior. The well of Christ never runs out because we’ll never run out of our need for it. As far as our journey goes, repentance must follow.
A farmer who plants a seed in the morning doesn’t expect to pick fruit in the evening, but neither does he cease watering and toiling. He patiently endures, trusting that growth will come, doing everything he can, but always being reminded that the rain and the sun will accomplish more than he. The tree will never grow on its own strength. It needs both the heat of the sun and the cool of the rain for growth.
Instead of focusing on the demands of faith only, focus on the giver of faith, the spirit within you. Let the patient endurance of the faith produce steadfastness and hope. Never complacency nor shame. Strength comes through your weakness. Child growth takes time. Grace is here for you now.
Be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer.