Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Keeping it Humble Part 4: Don't Stop Believing

Hey everyone, today we’re breaking down a tough verse, not that they haven’t all been tough. Let’s recap what we’ve worked through so far:

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;” Romans 12:9-11 NKJV

If you’re just joining our series on keeping it humble you can catch up here:





We’re tacking on verse 12 to our passage.

“…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;”

Let’s dig into each phrase, breaking it down in the Greek for a richer meaning, then apply it to ourselves in the context of humility.

Ready?

Rejoicing means to be exceedingly glad and to thrive or do well.

In hope…what is the hope that we are to be exceedingly glad about and thrive in?

The Greek word for hope is elpis and it means joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; the author of hope, or he who is its foundation

You and I have a reason to thrive and do well, we have a reason to be exceedingly glad. The author of our hope has defeated death, hell, and the grave. He has rescued us from eternal damnation. Our hope is forever salvation and all the freedom that it brings. We have a firm foundation to rejoice upon, it’s Jesus Christ!

And the reason this phrase comes first, I believe, is because we need to remember first and foremost that we have something and Someone to hope in.

Why?

Tribulations are coming. 

And it will require patience. It’s during these times we need to remind ourselves to rejoice, to be glad, because hope is not lost.

The word patient in the Greek is hypomenō and it means to preserve: under misfortunes and trials hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments

I’m reminded of David. He’d been anointed king in private but instead of ascending to the throne, he served, humbly, a king who came to despise him through jealous eyes. Many years David ran from Saul. He hid in caves. He had no rest. And many of his Psalms were written during this time.

In Psalm 25 David pours out his heart: “Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. Consider my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.” Verses 16-21

I see tribulation. And I also see while he shares his trouble with the Lord, he trusts Him and ends here with the fact he will wait for God.

Will you?

The phrase continuing steadfastly in prayer in the Greek is proskartereō and it means, to persevere and not to faint; to show one's self courageous for; to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing

Prayer takes courage, doesn’t it? It means you believe you’re being heard by the Almighty. It shows vulnerability and trust. Sometimes, we don’t see our prayers answered right away. Sometimes after five, ten, fifteen years, we have yet to see the pain taken away, the dreams fulfilled fill-in-the-blank.

And we get tired. We grow faint. We stop praying. Maybe, just maybe, we stop believing. Cue Don’t Stop Believing by Journey here. Susan Tuttle, my iTunes hit was just for you.

We have to travel back to that first phrase. Rejoice in hope. And you and I both know at times, rejoicing has to be a choice. Especially when we’re experiencing tribulation.

We can’t give up praying.

Again, I’m reminded of David. After he and Bathsheba committed adultery, their child died. God had already told David this was going to happen. Yet, David fasted and wept and prayed because he said in 2 Samuel 12:22, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ “

It isn’t over until it’s over. 

Yes, David’s son still died. And that’s a hard pill to swallow, but God had just told David after he repented, that his sins would be inked out. Forgiven. But with sin comes consequences (I am not saying that children’s deaths are linked to sin. I’m talking about David’s personal case here) and I like to see this as a picture of grace and mercy. Because that is Who God is.

For one man to live, a son had to die.

For you and I to have the hope we do, a Son had to die.

Hezekiah prayed to the Lord when he was sick. And God gave him fifteen years more on his life.

We can’t give up praying. We must persevere and be brave. Stay calm and trust God to do the right thing, to allow the right things, even when they feel wrong to you and I.

Prayer is humbling. Especially when we’re in situations we can’t control. And I think it’s fair to say we can’t control tribulations. When we rejoice in hope and meditate on that hope, it is humbling. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t control every single thing. We must be dependent on Someone else. And we have to be vulnerable and trust.

Praying continually keeps us low and brings God high. Rightfully where He belongs. Rightfully where we belong.

“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9

“If you are trying hard to do good, no one can really hurt you. But even if you suffer for doing right, you are blessed.

“Don’t be afraid of what they fear;
    do not dread those things.” (reference: Isaiah 8:12–13)

But respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to answer everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, but answer in a gentle way and with respect. Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed.  It is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong if that is what God wants.  Christ himself suffered for sins once. He was not guilty, but he suffered for those who are guilty to bring you to God. His body was killed, but he was made alive in the spirit.” 1 Peter 3:13-18 NCV


Life Application: If you have given up praying for something, start again this week. Today! Make a conscious decision to rejoice and when those around you ask why you can be exceedingly glad when your life is falling apart at best and at the very least, you have some annoyances going on, you can answer them and tell them about your hope. About Who your foundation is built upon. Take time to pour your heart out to the Lord. Be honest and vulnerable before Him. Trust Him to know best.

Prayer: Lord, we love you, honor you, trust you, respect you. We rejoice and give thanks for the amazing rescue of our souls. For taking our place, for becoming our sin and giving us a eternal hope. Thank you for never leaving us or forsaking us, even when we feel alone and isolated and destroyed. We know that we are not. We may be struck down, but never destroyed. Lord, help us to grasp that things really do work together for good to those who love you. Let us not grow bitter and see that as a platitude with no power behind it, but as hope for our future. A good one. One that will indeed prosper us. Lord, forgive us for dropping the ball in prayer regardless of our reasons. And strengthen us to continue in it because, Lord, we truly never know when you will show grace and mercy. And it is not over until it’s over. In Your precious name, Jesus, Amen.

How can I pray for you and with you? If you want to email me privately, go to my Connect page. Now, what is one thing you can rejoice about today?

6 comments:

  1. Thanks iTunes;)

    Great great great stuff, Jess. "Prayer takes courage" um, yes, it does. You brought the WORD today! And once again, it's one I'm going to be chewing on all day...while I'm singing a little Journey, thank you very much:)

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  2. So good, Jessica. Keep spreading the good news.

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  3. I love you, girl. Your words hit home today. It's easy to stop praying and hoping, to decide to "handle it" on our own. But prayer brings us to our needs and reminds us that's where we belong.

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  4. So true! And I've been praying for more courage. :) One of the prayers that I wrote down in my prayer journal (okay - my "prayer journal" is actually a note on my iphone) and that I've been praying over for a while says "Family - Courage and strength through you. Bold. Brave. For you and through you." Before I found out we were having a boy, I looked up the meaning of the boy name we'd chosen. It means "Bold." I looked up the girl name we'd chosen, and it means "Brave." I love when God does stuff like that.The smallest things can be the biggest reminders that He hears our prayers.

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  5. I loved this, Jess, and I especially loved your life application at the end. I get frustrated at myself sometimes for forgetting to pray. Ack! It's like, I let myself get consumed with a "thing" and there's an answer staring me in the face: PRAY. :) Thanks for the reminder.

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  6. Something about the words inked out got to me in this post. I love how you speak such truth in posts like this!

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