12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.—Romans 12:12 NIV
Too often, we confuse pleasure and happiness with joy. Pleasure and happiness are temporary. They are based on feelings, external situations and how others treat us. Joy is internal and is a fruit of the Spirit. It is a gift from God and once we have received His joy, no one can take it from us. We can fail to access it, but it is always there. In those times of affliction, it strengthens us to carry on.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.—Psalm 94:19 NIV
We must be faithful in prayer. As Paul says, “pray without ceasing”. We are able to do that because prayer is dependent on our thought patterns and our attitude. We can pray all the time, in any situation. A prayer can be a thought that goes through your mind, It does not have to be spoken.
10 “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind,to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”—Jeremiah 17:10 NIV
A prayerful attitude keeps us focused on God and not on our problems or our situation. When we are focused on God, we are filled with joy because of the hope we have in Him.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.
2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.—1 Cor. 2:1-5 (NIV)
Paul is humble in presenting himself and the message of Jesus Christ. He does not claim to have superior talents or wisdom. He is just a messenger with one message. That message is Jesus Christ, His death and His resurrection. Paul’s preaching is not with great words spoken by a great orator. Paul delivered the message with fear and trembling. We would all be wise to follow that example. We are ambassadors for a great King in a faraway place. We should conduct ourselves accordingly. Be gentle, be humble and let the Holy Spirit demonstrate the same power that was shown when Jesus was resurrected from the grave. Our faith is not founded on anything that a human thinks or could even imagine. It is founded on Jesus Christ. We can witness with confidence because the outcome is not based on our words or our works, it is based on His words and they rest on the power of the Holy Spirit. They will accomplish His purpose. 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.–Isaiah 55:10, 11 (NIV)
8 Because of our love for you we were ready to share with you not only the Good News from God but even our own lives. You were so dear to us! 9 Surely you remember, our friends, how we worked and toiled! We worked day and night so that we would not be any trouble to you as we preached to you the Good News from God. 10 You are our witnesses, and so is God, that our conduct toward you who believe was pure, right, and without fault. 11 You know that we treated each one of you just as parents treat their own children. 12 We encouraged you, we comforted you, and we kept urging you to live the kind of life that pleases God, who calls you to share in his own Kingdom and glory.–1 Thess. 2:8-12 (GNT)
Once we have shared the Good News of how Jesus died and rose again for our sins, there will be those who accept it and there will be those who don’t. To those who refuse to accept the Good News, we are to go on showing them the love and mercy of Jesus. But the ones that do accept Jesus are to be treated like babes, in the sense that they have had a “new birth”. We cannot expect them to understand all the ins and outs of living a Holy lifestyle right away. They have just started on the road that we have been traveling for some time. We should not be a burden to them, but we should instruct them, comfort them, and encourage them just as a parent would do for their own children. We are not only to preach the Good News, but we are to make disciples. Making disciples takes a lot of time, patience, and love. We are not to grow weary of doing good. Always remember that we were once in the same situation they are in now and someone cared enough to shepherd and mentor us in spiritual growth. We, ourselves, are still learning to walk uprightly and we will always be learning as long as we are in these tents of flesh.