The Operation of our Hope
A Study of B-O-B HOPE
Part 2 – The Operation of Our Hope
By Harold and Bette Gillogly
Welcome to Part 2 of our study on HOPE. In the first part, we looked deep into Scripture to find out about our Basis of HOPE – what we should and should not base our HOPE on. As promised, here in Part 2 we are going to dig deep again into Scripture to find out about the operation of our HOPE. Does it simply happen automatically, or do we play a part in making sure HOPE lives in us in both belief and practice – how we THINK and how we LIVE?
Do we have to cooperate in the operation of our HOPE? If so, what is our responsibility in maintaining our HOPE?
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Heb. 10:23) But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. (Heb. 3:6) God tells us we must to the HOPE we profess. Long about the eighth month of chemotherapy, it looked like the cancer was winning. Bette’s tumor size had stayed the same for several months without continuing to shrink. Our doctor patiently told us how cancer cells can actually learn to get around the chemo’s destructive power, refusing to die. But her words did not move us. We witnessed to our Oncologist that God had promised us the very morning after our diagnosis that Bette would be healed. And we believed He was going to keep His promise. Within a week, the tumor again began to shrink. God was fulfilling His promise. All we had to do was hold unswervingly to the HOPE we professed.
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. (Heb. 6:10-11) It takes our to make our hope sure. Diligence means to ‘be earnest, even zealous in exerting ourselves to do something.’ We can’t sit back, doing nothing, and expect HOPE to burn strong within us. We must get to know better the One we HOPE in by spending time in His word. And choose to believe and obey what He says.
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Rom. 8:25) is also required. There is no getting around this simple statement. To wait patiently means we often wait a “long time without giving up.”
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Rom. 5:3-5) Suffering produces perseverance, which produces which produces hope. The “Not only so” refers back to verses 1 and 2 which talks about how we can rejoice because of what we have to look forward to in Christ. And then Paul says we can also rejoice here and now because our trials are doing something amazing within us. They teach us to hang on and not give up. And that produces strength of character. And that strength of character produces HOPE in us. That HOPE, Paul goes on to say, does not lead us to disappointment, because God has given us His Holy Spirit to help us know that we know that we know God loves us lavishly and ‘unswervingly’.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lam. 3:21-23) We must remember God’s great love and to have hope. We have a choice every day – to wallow in pity or to intentionally remember God’s love and compassion. If anybody had an excuse to give up HOPE, it was Jeremiah. His people were starving to death and the Babylonians were at the gates of Jerusalem. But despite it all, he intentionally remembered how much God loves him. How compassionate God is. How faithful. And because he chose to believe the truth, Jeremiah had HOPE.
But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. (Psa. 71:14) Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Rom. 12:12) and hope go together. In Psalm 71, the Psalmist does a Jeremiah thing. In the verses that precede verse 14, he whines about what a tough spot he is in. But then, he chooses to believe God and trust Him. He even chooses to turn his whining into praising God. Then in Romans, we are actually commanded to be joyful in HOPE. God knows that when we choose to stop grumbling and complaining like the Psalmist did, we can set our minds on the truth – God’s love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on us! And that gives us so much JOY that we can turn our complaining into His praises!
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD. (Psa. 31:24) We are called to be and take heart if we have hope. According to the first chapter of Ephesians, we have all the power it took to raise Christ from the dead living INSIDE US. That means we never have to be satan’s victims. We can be victorious over the evil one every time IF we use Christ’s power within us! In fact, James 4:7 gives us step-by-step instructions in how to do it. (1) Submit to God – “Not my will, Lord, but Yours.” (2) Resist the devil – “I belong to Jesus. He has defeated you, devil. So I will not believe your lies! I choose to believe God’s TRUTH!” (3) He will flee from you. That’s the promise that accompanies these instructions.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psa. 42:11) We are called to our hope in God, which is a choice. Remember Jeremiah? Remember the Psalmist in Psalm 71? They did exactly what this Psalm says to do. Put your HOPE in God. If you choose to put your coat in the closet, it will take some effort on your part, won’t it? You will have to pick up your coat and put it on a hanger and hang it in the closet. Putting your HOPE in God will take your effort as well. You have to choose to be active in picking up your HOPE and PUTTING it in God. It’s a choice. Then it’s an action.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. (Micah 7:7) Those who hope, also . And keep praying, knowing God hears them. In 1 John 5:14-15, we are assured that we can be confident that God hears us when we ask for what pleases Him. That means asking God for His will in the matter. And then verse 15 promises that since we know He hears us, we can be sure He will answer us with “Yes” if we have asked in His will. But God ALWAYS answers our prayers – just not always with a “Yes.” Our God is All-Seeing. He sees everything – past present and future. So He sees around corners. We do not. That means we can trust His answer to always be the best thing for us. That’s why His answer is sometimes “No.” Just like you answer your children “No” sometimes. And sometimes you answer your children, “Wait.” So it is with God. Sometimes He answers, “Not now. Just wait.” This is why we can watch and wait on the Lord with HOPE.
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. (1 Th. 5:8) We must put on the hope of our salvation as a to protect our minds from the devil’s lies. If we choose to wear the helmet of HOPE, we must put it on by taking time to be in God’s word regularly – finding out what He says, and then choosing to obey. And when we do, we get protection from believing satan’s lies. Remember James 4:7?
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Pet. 1:13) We must continue to focus our hope on God’s – God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. We can set our HOPE fully and without reservation on God’s grace. His grace saved us from the penalty of sin the moment we asked Him to be our Savior and Lord. His grace is saving us from the power of sin every day we live on this earth. And His grace will save us from the presence of sin when He is finally revealed as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! No wonder we can fully set our HOPE on God’s grace!
But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Pet. 3:15) We should always be prepared to give others the
for our hope. Are you prepared to do that? Think about it. Have your answer ready. What a great opportunity to tell someone about Jesus and what He has done for you!
For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News. (Col. 1:4-5 NLT) Our and are a result of our HOPE. Without HOPE, they would have nothing to spring from. So if you are lacking faith and love, check your HOPE. Are you being obedient in doing what the Scriptures say – that means all you have read so far in this study – in order to keep your HOPE strong and sure? It’s time for you to take a good look at what you are doing to keep your HOPE burning bright.
Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:3) If we have HOPE we will ourselves. We will stay right with God and with others, confessing sin to God when He convicts us of it, and cleaning up any sin we have committed against anyone else. This is a definitive statement. If you have this HOPE, you will purify yourself. The HOPE John is talking about is the HOPE that when Jesus comes for us, we will be made like Him for we will see Him as He really is. John makes another definitive statement a little later in 1 John 4:20 – If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar. John’s statement about HOPE is just as strong. If we say we have HOPE and do not purify ourselves, then we are a liar. We do not have that HOPE. We don’t know about you, but that makes us search our hearts to make sure we are purifying ourselves as this Scripture declares.
Throughout this study, did you catch how active HOPE is? It’s not just something we have. It’s also something we do. We hold on unswervingly to it, make it sure, choose it, choose to be joyful because of it, put it on, set it on God alone, and purify ourselves because we have it. That’s how HOPE operates in our lives!
This has been Part 2 of our Study of B-O-B HOPE, The Operation of Our HOPE. Next month Part 3 – The Benefits of OUR HOPE will be published with our newsletter. How we pray this study so far has been a blessing in your life, and Part 3 will prove to be as well!
If you missed the first of these studies on Hope then go to: The Basis of our Hope.