The Powerful Meaning Of Romans 12:12 (joyful in hope and patient in affliction)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

The meaning of Romans 12:12 should be both an encouragement and a challenge for followers of Jesus. It’s a promise of the hope that we can find in Christ and a challenge to keep our eyes on him rather than what’s afflicting us. 

In this blog post we are going to break down this verse and see what the Romans 12:12 meaning holds for us today. 

The Context Of Romans 12:12

To better understand the depth of the meaning of Romans 12:12 we first need to understand the context it was written in. 

Let’s start by looking at the verse that starts off this chapter. 

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.” Romans 12:1

Whenever you see a “therefore” in the Bible you need to ask what it’s there for. It’s often there to make an important point that we need to lean into. 

In this case Paul is drawing a conclusion from all that he has presented so far in Romans. Romans 3:20, 5:1, 8:1, and much of his letter thus far is what the “therefore” is referring to. 

When we view Romans 12:12 in a vacuum we end up missing out on how it’s possible to live it out. 

Paul has spent much of his letter talking about the power of Christ and what he has done for us. Now in Romans 12 he’s talking about how we should live. On its own this chapter might seem like a steep ask. 

But Paul’s not telling us to do this so that we can earn something, but rather we should do this in response to ALL that God has done for us. 

I’ve written before about this chapter. You can read that post here: The TRUTH About The Romans 12:2 Meaning (be not conformed)

The Meaning Of Romans 12:12

To help us better understand the meaning of Romans 12:12 we are going to break it down into three sections: 

  1. Be Joyful In Hope 
  2. Patient In Affliction 
  3. Faithful In Prayer

This will help us see each of the things Paul is telling us to do. 

Be Joyful In Hope Meaning…. 

Joy is one of the primary attributes promised to followers of Jesus. But this joy isn’t dependent on our circumstances, rather it’s dependent on Jesus. In other words, our joy is secure. 

And what is this joy rooted in? Our hope in Christ. We must never lose sight of our hope of things in the future that God has promised us. 

Paul is calling back to a few chapters earlier in Romans 5:3-5. Even in the midst of the trials of this life we can have hope because of what God has done for us. 

The meaning of Romans 12:12 shows us that whatever you are going through, whatever storm you are facing, joy is yours when you place your hope in Jesus. 

Patient In Affliction Meaning… 

We don’t like this one do we? And while we might not like it, we shouldn’t be surprised by it. Jesus promised that we would face troubles in this world. 

Christians should not be shocked when they face affliction. After all, we follow a king who faced more than his fair share. But we can be patient in affliction, because of Jesus. 

In John 16:33 Jesus gives us a promise that we should hold onto in these moments. Troubles will come, but we can take heart because he has already overcome them. 

Faithful In Prayer Meaning… 

Pay attention to the progression in this verse, from hope to perseverance to prayer. Prayer is our great resource whenever we are facing the trials of this life. 

Prayer should be of the highest priority for each follower of Jesus. This is what Jesus modeled for us; he frequently withdrew from the crowds to pray. And we would be better off if we simply persevered in prayer. 

The Romans 12:12 meaning reminds us that it is through prayer and connecting with Jesus that we can find hope and joy.

Applying Romans 12:12 To Your Life

Now that we know the meaning of Romans 12:12 let’s switch gears and look at how we can live this out in our everyday lives. 

Don’t Lose Sight 

It’s really easy to take our eyes off Jesus when the storms of life come. But that’s the last thing we should do. We’ve got to keep our eyes on Jesus and remind ourselves of what’s true. 

Much like Peter when he walked on water in the middle of a storm. When he kept his eyes on Jesus he stayed above the waves. But when he started focusing on the wind and waves he sunk. 

The way to be joyful in hope and patient in affliction is through Jesus. We’ve got to fix our eyes on him. 

Be Devoted To Prayer

Romans 12:12 tells us one of the ways we can keep our eyes on Jesus: through prayer. 

I know that sounds kinda cliche, something a pastor would say. But Prayer is one of the primary ways we can connect with God. 

Jesus modeled this for us in his time on earth. He continually snuck away from the crowds, to spend time with his father. If Jesus needed this, we need it even more. 

If you want to hold onto hope and find peace in affliction you must devote yourself to prayer. 

Find Community 

God never intended for us to live life alone. We were meant to live in community with each other. Again, look at Jesus’ example. He surrounded himself with close friendships. 

Paul shares this idea in Romans 12:13, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” 

This is becoming an increasingly rare practice in our culture. We put up walls around our lives and let few people in. That shouldn’t be the case for followers of Jesus; we should practice hospitality. 

To find the hope and joy that Paul is promising will be a difficult, if not impossible, task on our own. We need each other. 

Throughout the Bible joy is promised to followers of Jesus. Joy that’s not dependent on our circumstances, rather that is built on what Jesus has done for us. 

The meaning of Romans 12:12 points us to how we can find this joy: through Jesus. So, be joyful in hope and patient in affliction. You can do this through prayer and with the help of others. Don’t settle for the lesser things of this world; step into what God has for you. 

Thank you for reading this blog post about the meaning of Romans 12:12. I hope you were encouraged and challenged to be joyful in hope and patient in affliction.

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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