Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality (Rm. 12:12, 13).
The three–rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer–if any are to be fulfilled in the life of a Christian, each must rest upon the other. For patience in tribulation will not come apart from rejoicing in hope, nor will it come apart from incessant prayer. However, our hope will not come apart from tribulation, for the apostle says earlier in his letter, “We rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Rm. 5:3-4). And incessant prayer will not come apart from rejoicing in hope and patience in tribulation, for hope and patience are the wellspring of godly supplication. The three are a three-stranded rope, where together the three are strong and stay a Christian’s life, but remove even one, and the others’ strength is diminished.
And when these three are found in the life of the Christian, it overflows practically in the contribution to the needs of the saints and the showing of hospitality. For the one who rejoices in hope of his future Inheritance by necessity does not rejoice in the world’s temporal pleasures and thereby uses his resources for the needs of the saints rather than for worldly gain. Also, the one who is patient in tribulation, because of his own suffering, sympathizes with the plight of his fellow brothers and sisters and seeks to aid them in their need and suffering. And, finally, the one who does not cease to pray to the Lord, is constantly fixed upon doing the will of the Lord, which is to love his brothers and sisters in the same manner that Christ loved him, suffering even unto death for sake of the saints. Each of these–hope, suffering, and incessant prayer–hold the Christian fast and overflow in a wellspring of generosity to the needs of the Church.
This great truth was fulfilled in the church at Macedonia, of whom the apostle Paul writes:
We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints–and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us (2Cor. 8:1-5).
The case of the Macedonians is not an extreme case, but it is normality when God’s people rejoice in hope, are patient in suffering, and are incessantly seeking the will of God through prayer.
What will be the testimony of your life? Will you testify, as did the faithful Macedonians, to the greatness of your Inheritance and pour out your life for the needs of the saints, or will you testify, as did the licentious Corinthians, to your love of the world and neglect your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?
Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study