This week’s memory verse:
And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character, and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:2-5 NIV
We’re coming to the end of our Summer Soak in 1Corinthians 13:4-7. For our last week we are considering hope and perseverance. Each one fuels the other.
Love always hopes, hopes all things, is always hopeful. Love endures all things, always perseveres.
If we don’t have hope we won’t persevere. And without perseverance our hopes may not come to pass.
At the heart of hope is waiting. Waiting in a doctor’s office, waiting on the phone call of a friend, waiting for your husband to come home is all done with hope. Expectation of it happening. If you don’t believe it will happen, you won’t wait.
The Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon defines the Greek in a religious sense as to wait for salvation with joy and full confidence.
What are you waiting for? Are you waiting full of hope? with joy and confidence?
Some of us are waiting for freedom from our own sinful strongholds. Some are waiting to be saved from a difficult situation or circumstance. Some for healing. Some are waiting on Him to work in the hearts of loved ones.
No matter what we are waiting on, our hope is directly proportional to our faith.
Read Hebrews 11:1
What is faith in regard to hope?
Faith is confident in what it hopes for. When we are faithful, we are sure what we are waiting for will come to pass.
How confident are you in what you are hoping for? What makes you confident? What makes you unsure?
As Christians, faith in Jesus defines our hopes and gives us the assurance we are not hoping in vain. And when Jesus tells us to hope, it is tied directly to His promises.
How well do you know His promises? Is there one particular promise which fuels your hope?
Read the following verses. Record the promise found in each.
The world turned me into a pragmatic pessimist with a little cynicism poured over by the time I was in my twenties. So hope for me was generally focused on waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Jesus has been working to turn this around in me for more than two decades now and He’s made some progress. He’s poured His Spirit into me and turned my heart toward His promises.
A few years ago, I took a garden prayer walk around my home as a spiritual discipline for a Bible study. The focus was to examine creation, all He made, notice the wonders, meditate on the depth of His love. Talk with Him as to a friend.
His love spoke volumes through the flowers, colors, textures, which led to considering the beauty and complexity of all creation and the infinite nature of the universe. What kind of love makes such a wondrous place for a few people stuck on a small planet in the middle of it all?
Filled with affirmation of His love, I spoke to Him as a friend. I told Him my weariness over loved ones lost and struggling. I shared my heartache. And He said…
How will I not give you all things?
His words took me back to Scripture. His greatest Beauty, Himself. His offering on a cross.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32 ESV
His words… dare I say?… came as a promise. His words fueled hope. Quenched doubt. Fired up faith.
I return to this Word of His when I feel discouraged and doubtful. This promise, reignites hope and enables me to persevere in prayer. Waiting for Him to free up and save those I love.`
When it comes to waiting on the salvation of those we love, we must remember we cannot save anyone. So, like trust, we place our hope in God to work in the lives of those for whom we are waiting for something better.
Knowing His promises and setting hope firmly in our hearts we are ready to persevere whatever may come.
Love always hopes, always perseveres.
The Greek translated as perseveres means to remain, abide, not recede or flee; to bear ill treatments bravely and calmly (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). This is a love that doesn’t run away or avoid. It stays even when it’s difficult.
Read James 1:2-4
We looked at this verse when we studied patience at the start of our Summer Soak. You could say we’ve come full circle. What does perseverance do for us spiritually?
What is our role when it comes to perseverance?
Perseverance matures us, completes us spiritually. But, we must let perseverance finish its work. We have to allow it to work in us. If we give up there is no hope for a mature faith. We must choose to endure.
Who in Scripture comes to mind when it comes to hope and perseverance?
What keeps you from enduring? What causes you to give up?
Read 2Timothy 4:7-8
What did Paul say he had done?
What was in store for him?
Read Hebrews 10:36-39
Why do we need to persevere?
What is the ultimate promise?
What happens to those who fall away?
Perseverance is hard. It’s hard to keep loving difficult people in difficult circumstances. It’s hard to endure suffering, emotional or physical, and still love. But He promises it is all worth it. The hope He places in our hearts by the Holy Spirit is one we can quench or stir up into a glowing flame of spiritual fervor. Which will you choose?
Consider who or what you run away from or avoid. Why?
Ask God to prepare your heart to bear those circumstances and people who are difficult. Ask Him to teach you how to love with hope and perseverance.
Lord, You are the only hope for salvation and deliverance. You alone make the way for something better. Grow me to hope in You and persevere in the places You’ve placed me. Keep me focused on Your promises. Thank You for Your enduring love. Fill me with hopeful love. Transform my heart to love others the same way You love me.
This week’s spiritual discipline:
His promises not only fuel hope, but they can help us keep up the fight, run the race to the end. This week, let’s strengthen our hope and ability to persevere by taking His promises to heart.
Consider the area of your life where you are currently tired of waiting and ready to give up. Now, find a promise in His Word which speaks to your situation and fills you with encouragement. Or use one listed above.
To find a promising verse, use the concordance in your Bible or search for words on BibleGateway.com which reflect the promise you need.
Hold on tight to the promise this week. Memorize it. Pray it. Believe it.
Allow His Word to work in your heart and increase your capacity to love.
Questions for your Summer Soak journal:
How do hope and perseverance effect our ability to love others?
Did you practice the spiritual discipline this week? What promise did you claim over your waiting?
What kept you from speaking His promises over your life?