Getting through the week can be tough! Between work, shuffling the kids to school and activities, the TRAFFIC (which can be enough to make you want to go back to bed!), people’s attitudes, and all the responsibilities that come with this wonderful thing called adulthood, life has a way of testing you to your limit! So how do we get through the week? Do we have a guideline? How should we act as Christians? Romans 12:12-13 give us some practical advice that I believe give us a little insight that we can carry with us. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
Let’s break down this scripture, so that we can apply it to our daily life.
- Be Joyful in Hope. Even when the world’s weight is bearing down on us, we can find joy in our hope in Jesus Christ our Savior. It may not be easy to find joy in the midst of our troubles, but if we take our focus away from all that worries us and redirect it on all that Christ did for us, does for us and will do for us you will find joy. Our circumstances have the potential to continually change but God is constant, he is the same yesterday, today and always and we should find joy in his certainty when everything else in life is so uncertain. We can have joy in our day we remember his love and promise to us.
- Patient in Affliction-This is a hard one right?I’ll admit that when I’m facing any affliction I immediately want the pain to stop whether it is physical or emotional. Whatever pain you may be going through do you know that God is allowing it to happen? Do you know that he knows your needs and how much you can handle? James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy my brother whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” In our weakest moments is when we rely on God the most, it is then that we find strength in God.What can make affliction so painful is that we aren’t patient while we’re going through it. Instead we want it to hurry up and be over, we want to move and just feel good again and we aren’t understanding the deeper meaning of the affliction and missing the whole point! It is in our afflictions that we learn the most about ourselves and it is in those moments that our relationship with God is deepened and our faith is strengthened.There is growth in affliction, the problem is when we rush through it we often miss the lesson and continue to repeat the same mistakes or have the same issues occur again because of our refusal to rely on God and allow him to help us work through it, sound familiar? During the week we may face small nuances or we may be dealing with some heavy stuff, but each day if we turn to God and ask him to reveal his purpose for this affliction and pray on his guidance we will be able to eventually come out victorious. Instead of saying, “God stop this now! Walk through your affliction with faith, prayer, and patience. Of course this doesn’t come easy so every day be dependent on him and not yourself for the strength you need.
- Faithful in Prayer. Prayer is not a quick fix. Prayer is an intimate conversation between you and your heavenly Father. Prayer shouldn’t happen only when we’re sad, desperate or tired, not saying we shouldn’t pray in those times, but prayer needs to be part of our every day life if we are going to be able to clearly hear God when he is speaking to us. Many of us struggle with prayer, I know I do. But, I also know when I spend the quiet time in prayer with God I am in union with him and there is a sense of peacefulness and completeness that comes over me. For example, this morning I was walking and started thinking about how far God has taken me and I literally started crying! I began praying and thanking God for his mercy, grace and forgiveness. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and talking with God in those moments was an unbelievably joyful experience. Now, if I did that every day faithfully just imagine how much richness I’d bring into my life. I’m working on becoming more faithful in prayer, not to be ritualistic, but because prayer is an important part of my walk with Christ. There is a reason we’re told to pray several times in the bible. God knows all the obstacles we face on a daily basis, he knows the devil is always on the prowl and he wants us to walk with him and to talk with him.
- Share with God’s People in Need. If we begin our week seeking to share with God’s people in need, do you know how much happier we would be? We were made to love one another, this means we should take every opportunity to care for others. One of the the best way to take our focus away from the negative it is to focus it on others in need. Every one of you will do this differently and that’s okay. Maybe sharing with others in need is writing a check to the church for their youth program or buying a homeless person a sandwich, whatever it is don’t pass up the opportunity. Our hearts are the fullest when we are obeying God’ command to love one another.
- Practice Hospitality. You may be thinking, look I’m busy I don’t have time to invite people over for coffee or tea. I want you to rethink how you can practice hospitality in a way that isn’t a burden, but a blessing. Our homes should be havens, holy ground made to nurture our children, friends, family, and sometimes even strangers. I think so much of our stress, sadness and feelings of isolation comes from us being in a culture that place so much value on individualism and so little value on community and togetherness. Some of my favorite memories are gatherings of my family or friends. I still yearn for the days of Sunday dinner at grandma’s house and now grandma is gone and I’m in a different state from the rest of my family I treasure those memories even more. Use your home to bless others! Open your heart and use your hands to make invite others in. There are so many ways to practice hospitality that will be a blessing to you and your children as well. Don’t be timid, host a fellowship or a bible study, do Sunday dinners with friends and their kids, or have movie night with the neighbors. Start each week thinking about how you can practice hospitality, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, it just needs to come from you heart and I guarantee your week will be brighter. When you practice hospitality you are also showing your kids the beautiful example of a Christian at their best.
In a world that can be pretty dark it is important for us to stay in God’s word and to apply it our lives. This is just a few of the ways the scriptures can be practically applied to our own daily grind, but we’re so blessed to have life’s little instruction booklet at our fingertips!