Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. – Romans 12:12
This section in its entirety is full of what feels like unattainable standards…
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Romans 12:9-18 NASB).
I’m tired of the way people preach coming to Christ as the end of all their troubles, when in reality it’s a transformation and a hope in the midst of troubles. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NASB).
As believers, we live in this tension of what has happened and what is to come. In the meantime, we are given this time, this single opportunity while we are on the earth to rejoice, endure, persist, contribute, and pursue…to live in such a way that brings glory and draws others to Christ.
I feel like we forget this way too often…it’s far more comfortable to spend our time sitting in church services, attending conferences, and spending $40+ to worship at a stadium…I went there. And I’m not saying that in and of themselves, these things are negative, in fact, I think these concepts started out with the right intention but over time have become these grand productions that are at times more focused on celebrity-status speakers than the gospel and concert experiences over worship, but at the end of the day, when our Christianity is centered around comfort and entertainment rather than sharing in the suffering of Christ (Philippians 3:10-11), I think it’s safe to say we’ve lost sight.
There IS joy, AND there is enduring and persisting. It’s a dichotomy that resides in this space of our faith, and all are required. I think rather than trying to sell Christianity as life’s ultimate hack, we would be better witnesses by living our faith out in sincerity and humility, being the first to offer that we are not perfect, but we are serving a Savior whose perfection saved us, who is worth enduring for, while we live in this imperfect and dying world, making every effort to throw all that we are into building the Kingdom while we have time.
Grace & Peace,