Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.
Romans 12:12 NLT
Every day we face the choice to conform or to change . . . to be the same or to be special. Conforming is an indifferent satisfaction to our culture. Changing is an intentional strategy. We are changed and transformed by refreshing and renewing the way we think.
The Apostle Paul presents a three part strategy to shift our thinking. Each requires initiative and is intentional . . . and, each is life-changing.
Perspective – We Choose To Experience Happiness Because Of Hope. The prophet Jeremiah reminds an enslaved nation, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” (Jer 29:11 NLT) In grieving, there is good. In disaster, there is delight. Our hope is in His presence. Our hope is in His provision. Our hope is in His promises. We have an eternity with Him, but we also have every day with Him. He never leaves. He never abandons.
We praise in our confident hope.
Patience – We Choose To Endure Trials Because Of Transformation. There is a learning in our longing. The writer of Hebrews tells of our Savior’s example, “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.” (Heb 5:8 NLT) Suffering provides us the opportunity to share with Jesus and about Jesus. Peter reminds us, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through . . . be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in His suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory when it is revealed to all the world.” (1 Pet 4:12-13 NLT) He turns our mess into a message. He turns our trials into a testimony. He transforms our grief into His glory.
We are patient in troubled times.
Prayer – We Choose To Engage In Prayer Because Of Peace. Faithful prayer develops focused purpose. Approaching Him with prayer appropriates peace that guards what we think and how we feel. Paul tells us, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:6-7 NLT)
We keep on praying.
If we conform, we simply accept the way things are . . . if we change, we spiritually adapt to the way things could be. Paul says it this way, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Rom12:2 NLT)
He will change your life . . . and He will make you a life changer. m