by Pastor Mark Jordan
“Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer.” (Romans 12:12, CEB)
I really need this verse today.
Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It contains a lot of very practical advice for living the life of a Christian daily. Hard? Yes. Worth it? Always. As we read this wisdom today, I want to focus in on these three ideas.
Be happy on your hope: Great advice, isn’t it? Hope indicates there is something unfulfilled in life that you are waiting to see come to fruition. You can be hopeful with a myriad of emotions. As I see it, a grumpy Christian should be an oxymoron, but I think we all know at least one spiritual sourpuss. Paul wants you to be happy in hope as you wait.
Stand your ground when you’re in trouble: Trouble in life can cause you to either respond or react. Reacting often coincides with disproportionate behavior, and can harm a relationship and/or your witness. Standing your ground means being prepared for what may come, starting first with prayer. This infuses you with God’s strength, so you need not fear what may come, because you know Who holds the future.
Devote yourself to prayer: I mentioned this in the last point, but it deserves another look. Prayer helps get you in line with God’s will. This is critical when you come upon difficult times, because it sets your eyes on Jesus as opposed to what other circumstances you encounter. Prayer also helps to settle you down, and lift your spirits. A 2012 study published by the American Journal of Psychiatry reported the results of a longitudinal study that shows Christians who pray regularly have a 76% less chance of experiencing a major depressive episode.
I hope this is helpful as you think about living a Christin life, even when life feels so un-Christian. Staying happy, standing your ground, and starting with prayer can help you deal with whatever comes your way. This isn’t to say you won’t reel from difficulties, but trusting God through prayer will help you stay hopeful and strong by (A) keeping difficulties in perspective, and (B) focusing your hope on happiness, even when it feels like you’re going through hell.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for this eternal wisdom that helps me deal with the struggles of today. I want to be happy and strong, and know that prayer is the key; therefore, I lift this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen.