based on the LGG Study, Enduring Hope / w6d3
Today’s Scripture: Romans 12 / SOAP: 12:2 and 12
In verses nine through twenty-one, Paul basically makes a list of things that Christians should do, or ways they should live, in order to please God. He starts with the importance of love without pretense (9), and ends the list with instructions to not be overcome with evil but rather to overcome evil with good(21).
Verse twelve, the second of our SOAP / focus verses, is so important to our study that I wanted to share this Scripture ‘nugget’ I found by Bibleref.com – I encourage you to really take the time to carefully read through this explanation of “rejoicing in hope and enduring suffering,”as well as the role prayer plays in it all.
The first command to Christians is to rejoice in hope. Often, we resist instruction about what we should feel: that we should change our attitudes to be joyful. The idea here, though, is more about declaring ourselves as having reason for joy. It’s not a command to be happy, but to have the right perspective on our situation. We should agree with God that our hope is worth rejoicing over. What hope? Paul is referring to the hope of the redemption of our bodies and being united with our Father forever once our adoption is complete (Romans 8:23–24).
The next command is to be patient [endure] in tribulation or affliction. This becomes much easier if we are keeping the other two commands. Those who see their future worth celebrating and who pray to the Father continually will have a much easier time being [enduring] during hardship. Paul is not downplaying the genuine pain of those experiences. Life can be unpleasant, and not all moments are happy moments. Yet Paul has pointed out that the struggles of life on earth are not worth comparing with the glory to come (Romans 8:18). So, we wait with patience (Romans 8:25).
The final command of the verse also connects with Paul’s thoughts in Romans chapter 8. We’re commanded to be constant in prayer, or to keep praying continually. During any time of suffering, while waiting for what we’re hoping in, we should pray. Prayer brings a connection with our Father through the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26–27). He hears, understands, and helps in response to even our clumsiest attempts to communicate with Him.
Keep in mind that none of this is possible without the transformation of our minds, which is the focus of verse two, our other SOAP verse. In a recent message by one of our pastors, this verse was explained as such: “God wants a transformation, meaning a continual moving toward God, and allowing Him to change and renew the way we think. However, prior to this transformation we must be intentional to guard ourselves from being “conformed to(or to copy the behavior of…) this world.” Pastor Yates went on to clarify that being conformed to the world involves a continual renunciation of God for the ways of the world.”
Consider these applications found at Bibleref.com and from Pastor Yates’ sermon …
Bibleref – 12:2 / “…God may continue to provide us with pleasure, possessions, and status in various forms, but he urges us to learn how to look at life with a new question: What does God want for me? What is truly a good, acceptable, and perfect use of my life for His purposes and not just for my own?”
Pastor Yates –
“God wants a presentation” –
We are to …
- be a living sacrifice
- “a vehicle through which we serve Christ”
- be set apart for God
- to be holy as He is holy=====
- be pleasing to God (Malachi 1:6-8_
- “second best is not pleasing to God”
- be a true worshiper
Prayer, Response to God’s Word
Father, Your Word is living and active and life-changing when we yield to Your instructions. Help us to faithfully present ourselves to You as living sacrifices … to live set apart for You, pleasing You by really loving others. Help us to hate what is wrong and hold tightly to what is good, to work hard and serve You enthusiastically, being eager to show hospitality. Let us rejoice in the hope we have in You, patiently endure – even in our suffering, and to always keep praying. If we are persecuted may we bless our persecutor and not curse them – and may we even pray for them to know God’s blessing. Remind us to be happy with those who are happy, to weep with those who weep, and to live in peaceful harmony with all people – as much as is possible with You. Guard us from vengeance or paying back evil for evil, and in all of this may You be glorified – In Jesus’ Name – Amen!
Enhance today’s reading with the LGG Blog Post
More on Romans 12