Today, as I was preparing to listen to my daily reading in the YouVersion app, this verse popped up as the “verse of the day.” YouVersion has graphic designers that make these verse images and every so often I post them to Facebook or Twitter. This particular verse jumped out at me today, and I particularly love the emphasis this designer gave to the three words, “joyful, patient, and faithful.”
Now, in the context, this verse is part of a list of “things to be” from Paul the Apostle in the book of Romans. As I looked at this verse this morning, I thought, “Am I joyful, patient, and faithful?”
If I’m being honest with myself, those would be checked off on my report card under the “needs improvement” category.
“Joyful in Hope”
What on earth is there to be joyful about?
If I flip on the news, take in my mile-high to-do list, or skim through Facebook, I will find little to bring me joy. Instead, I will be visited by the three masked bandits of joy: Anxiety, Envy, and Despair.
When Jesus rose from the grave on the third day, He gave us the gift of hope. If we truly believe Jesus conquered death, we will have confidence in His power to raise us from death to a new and better life. Hope sustains our joy through every shadowy moment of every single day.
Instead of filling your mind with “all the latest,” take time each day to meditate on the scriptures. Fix your eyes on Jesus, and you will discover joy.
“Patient in Affliction”
On Sundays and Wednesdays, I’ve been team teaching the second and third graders in the book of Genesis. This week, we began the account of Joseph, the very epitome of “patient in affliction.” Despite his diligence, things just seem to go wrong for him.
However, even when wronged, Joseph continues to do right.
When Joseph is sold in to slavery, he does such great work that his master, Potiphar, puts him in charge of everything. When Potiphar’s wife falsely accuses Joseph of attempted rape and he ends up in prison, Joseph doesn’t languish in his cell, but does whatever tasks are given him with such diligence that he is put in charge there as well. Joseph did not allow his circumstances to dictate his attitude. Instead of succumbing to despair, we see him “doing the dishes” as it were. He just keeps on keeping’ on and the Lord blesses him to such an extent that he ends up second only to Pharaoh.
The kids are memorizing this verse:
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
~ Genesis 50:20, ESV
This life is full of seasons in which everything seems to look down. The question is, do we trust in the God who is able to “make diamonds out of dust”? Do we believe God can make all things beautiful in His good time? Are we willing to wait patiently on the Lord through good times and bad?
Joseph’s patience pays off, and God will reward our patience too.
Rewards may not materialize in this life, but as I mentioned above, we can rejoice in the hope of better things.
Do we truly believe in a God who is able to work all things toward a good purpose? If we do, we need to show it through patience.
“Faithful in Prayer”
I’ve heard it (and said it myself) countless times: “I need to pray more.”
Now, what that phrase means for each individual may vary.
- Are we praying only when the guy up front is leading the congregation in prayer?
- Are we praying only when we need something? Once a week? Once a month?
- Are we praying only around the dinner table?
Here’s the bottom line: We need to be “regulars” at God’s throne.
God should be hearing from us every single day. We ought to give thanks for small blessings whenever we think of them. We should ask for His help whenever we get ready to speak. We should have regular one-on-one time with our Heavenly Father.
I know, it seems as though I’m always harping on prayer, but I do so intentionally.
For one thing, I’m trying to remind myself to keep at it, but I also figure I’m not alone in my forgetfulness. I need to pray more and the world needs all of us to pray more. If the prayer of one righteous person is powerful, imagine what effect thousands of righteous prayers could have!
We’re going to have a hard time being joyful in hope or patient in affliction if we aren’t faithful in prayer. We Need God’s Help.
Above needing God’s help, we need a relationship with our Father. He is the treasure to top all treasures. Knowing the Lord intimately is worth infinitely more than anything this world has to offer.
Being a child of God is not about checking items off a list, it is a metamorphosis. We are to be radically transformed so that people see the power of God and the example of Christ. Joy, Patience, and Faithfulness are rare attributes in this world. Let’s develop these in ourselves so more people can be drawn to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.