Read Romans 12:9-21
The 12×12 Rule!
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Digging Deeper: Romans 12:9-21 is kind of a checklist for Christ-like behavior. Depending on how you count them, you’ll find no less than nineteen commands that the Christian is to carry out; practical ways, if you will, that we can truly live as “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.” (Romans 1:1)
The Message version’s rendering of verse 1 calls us to take our “everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.” With God’s help, by rejecting the world’s way of thinking and acting, by the complete transformation of our entire way of viewing, doing and approaching life, and with our 24/7 dedication to the aforementioned, this checklist pretty well covers what the verse describes: The outward produce of an inner renovation experienced in Christ.
There is one item on this checklist that is a particular favorite of mine: Romans 12:12. A few years ago, an elder in the church where I served as lead pastor brought that particular verse to my attention. It became the motto of our elder board—and I affectionately named it the 12×12 rule: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. In our elder’s meetings, when we’d come to a sticky challenge, were overcome by a sense of helplessness, left scratching our head in bewilderment, or found ourselves up against an insurmountable wall, we’d just invoke the 12×12 rule.
The 12×12 rule became such a standard response and call to action of that leadership team that one year during the Christmas season the elders gave me a gift that would be a constant reminder to invoke this rule in my life and leadership. It was a Mont Blanc pen—with the words, “Romans 12:12” inscribed on it. I have never received a more unforgettable and beneficial gift!
The 12×12 rule pretty well sums up what it means to be Christian, doesn’t it? I would like to challenge you to adopt the 12×12 rule as your own. Memorize it—it’s pretty easy; it’s just ten words. Meditate on it until you absorb it into your core. Pray it back to God until the Holy Spirit brings it to life in your way of thinking. And then just do it. Invoke it early and often as you do life.
The 12×12 rule. I like that: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
“Hope is a waking dream.”
This Week’s Assignment:
Read: Romans 12:1-21
Memorize: Romans 12:1-2
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
For Your Consideration: Stop at the very first word of chapter 12: “Therefore”. Whenever you come to a “therefore” in your Bible reading, you ought to ask yourself, “what is it there for?” What Paul goes on to say in these first two verses comprises what is arguably the most important duty of all true Christ-followers: The offering of our everyday lives to God as our only and reasonable act of worship. “Therefore” …what is the basis of this call to Christian duty? (Hint: Go back to Romans 11:36.)