“…rejoicing in hope, patient (persevering) in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;”
(Romans 12:12)

This verse was spoken by Paul to the Christians in Rome. He was giving them guidelines on Christian behavior, such as loving without hypocrisy, being diligent, serving the Lord and blessing our enemies.

“Rejoicing in hope, remaining patient in tribulation and continuing steadfastly in prayer” is sandwiched somewhere in the middle.

I began to think about these words and their meaning. One thing my Jewish brothers and sisters have taught me is the emphasis God places on eternity. Our physical world is but a snap of the Lord’s fingers – a fleeting moment. Certainly, the Lord is concerned about our physical needs, but He is not wrapped up in them like we are. Why? Because He is Spirit and He is eternal. His greatest joy and desire is to know that we will spend eternity with Him. After all, that is why He created us.

When you first read, “rejoicing in hope, patient (persevering) in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer,” did you place these concepts into tangible situations? I sure did. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

But I want to show you what I learned by digging deeper. I learned that the Lord our God wants us to consider eternity as we ponder Paul’s exhortations.

The cross-reference for, “rejoicing in hope” is Luke 10:20 which reads, “…rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” That’s the hope! This reminds me of “the hope of glory” we refer to when a loved one dies. Friend, we have hope for eternity – our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life! Rejoice!

What about “patient (persevering) in tribulation”? This one might blow your socks off or cause you to do the happy dance!

The cross-reference for “patient (persevering) in tribulation” is Luke 21:19, “By your patience possess your souls.”

Our souls? What does persevering in tribulation have to do with our souls?

The Greek word used in this passage to indicate patience is hupomeno (hoop-ahm-en-oh) which translates, endure. Hupomeno means “to hold one’s ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously.”

Friend, we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but with principalities of darkness. Satan roams the earth as a roaring lion seeking whom he shall devour.

“But he who endures – is patient, persevering in tribulation – to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)

So rejoice. Persevere. Pray.

And set your eyes on spending eternity with the One Who loves you more than life itself.

Father, Help us understand this message. Help us understand that, although we are consumed with our day to day trials, schedules and needs, You, Lord are consumed with where we will spend eternity. That is pretty amazing. Help us change our focus. Help us to be transformed into the image of Christ through the renewing of our minds. Make us aware of eternal purposes. Set our eyes on You and Your Kingdom. Change our thinking, Father to imitate Yours. Thank You.