Can you imagine the impact upon us as individuals and upon our society if everyone would turn their focus toward faith, hope, and love? These are undoubtably the greatest and best assets anyone could possess and share with others, not just now but for eternity.
Many people live frivolously, even selfishly, expecting unending tomorrows in which to “eat, drink and be merry.” But what if we knew our time was short, our opportunities limited? Would the flow and direction of our lives change? Would an eternal perspective help us refocus our priorities and energies?
“And I’ll say to myself, ‘You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and be merry.’ ‘But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you . . . ” ‘ ”
It is all too easy to become distracted by the trivial and consumed with the mundane. Too often the responsibilities of life dictate our agendas and demand our time. The urgent pushes ahead of the necessary. Re-evaluating our focus helps to center us, pulling us toward far-reaching eternal goals and targets.
Whether I speak, write, teach, mentor or encourage, I’m continually brought back to the motivation behind it all — faith, hope, and love.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
“These three remain,” existing for eternity!
Paul commends the church in Corinth for their effective use of spiritual gifts. He asks them to remember and honor each individual, valuing their uniqueness. Like us, the Corinthian church struggled to maintain unity within diversity. Like us, they elevated the minor and diminished the major. They found it easy to focus on the external functioning of gifts and ignore the deeper issues of the heart. They faced these challenges — sometimes well, sometimes not.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:2
That’s an impressive list, isn’t it? Who wouldn’t want a faith to move mountains or the gift of prophecy? What about an ability to understand the deep secrets and mysteries of God? Many people pursue these gifts and receive them. God, speaking through Paul, clearly states that these things don’t impress or please Him. Unless, of course, they spill from a heart overflowing with love.
Unbelief, scepticism, cynicism, and doubt permeate our culture. But there’s good news. they are all temporary ailments of a society in which God is absent. Every negative will come to an end. Faith leads the list of eternal qualities, replacing all negative undercurrents.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Never before have people become so connected yet disconnected at the same time. The bombardment of information and influence serves only to amplify our loneliness. People feel incredibly isolated and ignored while their social media “friend” lists explode and expand.
Hopelessness in various forms pervades. Hope defers. Heartsickness abounds.
The longing within us refuses to be quenched and screams for more faith, hope, and love. For a while people hope; often, they give up. Like the faint scent of rain swept away by the harsh winds of reality, hearts lie barren and dry — hopeless in a world without significant hope.
Jesus restores hope!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.”
1 Peter 1:3-4
No matter how hopeless your situation appears, it lasts for a season. Jesus Christ grants each one of us an eternal and living hope. Receive your inheritance of hope, securely kept for you. Hope floods your eternal future! Nothing and no one can stop it!
We have all experienced frail, fickle, and faltering love. Genuine love, never fails or falters. We all crave a love that endures. It is a basic need of all humanity.
“Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease, where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.”
1 Corinthians 13:8
Even in Christian circles, we easily major on the minors and overlook the major or greatest qualities within God’s Kingdom. No attribute outweighs the significance of love.
I don’t need to look outside myself to find a discrepancy between belief and action. Oh, how frail, fickle, and faltering my own love often becomes!
Many people feel rejected, abandoned, and unloved. Maybe, you know the feeling all too well. Listen to the following verse and allow God to speak directly to your heart,
“‘Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”
It’s possible for mountains to shake and crumble, but impossible for God’s love to be shaken, let alone cease. I find it comforting to know that hatred will end, but God’s love remains eternally secure.
Faith, Hope, and Love
Since God’s Word is true, enduring forever, how should we respond? Since everything else will eventually pass away, how can we nurture faith, hope and love, first in our lives and then in others?
God has given to each of us a measure of these qualities in seed form. When we plant and nurture them (activating them), they will grow and increase. The principle of sowing and reaping runs throughout God’s Word.
- “Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy” Psalm 126:5.
- “A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward” Proverbs 11:18.
- “Remember this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” 2 Corinthians 9:6.
Together, let’s aim to live our lives in the best way possible. Let’s pursue the eternal qualities of faith, hope, and love, both in ourselves and in others. May we commit ourselves to inspire faith, instill hope, and ignite love. How we each accomplish the task will look different, but every one of us possesses the ability to make a difference.
May we focus on these greatest and enduring qualities of faith, hope, and love, receiving them fully, and then just as freely, giving them away. Let’s stop for a moment to ask God how we might spread these attributes further.