Commenting on Romans 12:12, John Calvin wrote: “If our joy is derived from the hope of future life, then patience will grow up in adversities; for no kind of sorrow will be able to overwhelm this joy. Hence these two things are closely connected together, that is, joy derived from hope, and patience in adversities. No man will indeed calmly and quietly submit to bear the cross, but he who has learnt to seek his happiness beyond this world, so as to mitigate and allay the bitterness of the cross with the consolation of hope.”
This is one way in which patience or godly waiting is part of love in action. Patience and love are closely linked in this passage and elsewhere in Scripture (v. 12; see 1 Cor. 13:4; Eph. 4:2). As we’ve seen in our month’s study, we wait because we know God loves us. One of our purposes in waiting is thus to experience His love and compassion. What we wait for most of all is the consummation of our salvation, which is the greatest act of love the world has ever seen.
Many other dimensions of love-in-action are packed into these verses, such as empathy, hospitality, servanthood, and integrity. We’re to hate sin, love good, be devoted to God’s people, and honor others above ourselves. We’re also to be sincere, zealous, and humble. Finally, we should share with those in need, bless our enemies, not pursue revenge, and live at peace with others.
The phrase “patient in affliction” (v. 12) associates waiting and patience with enduring suffering or persevering through troubles. Given what we’ve found in our study, it’s no surprise to find it grouped with “be joyful in hope” (or “because of hope”) and “faithful in prayer.” Prayer is an essential part of waiting on the Lord.
Today’s reading contains many imperative verbs or commands to obey. Consider one of these to focus on today and do it! If you’re not sure which one to choose, ask God in prayer to show you, since being “faithful in prayer” is an excellent place to start. You could also share this idea with a Christian friend and do it together.