There are some crucial essentials in life that God wants all his children to know so as to live a life full of life. That is, a life that is fulfilling while delighting in God.
While addressing issues on spiritual gifts in the Body of Christ at Corinth, Apostle Paul mentions three important things that should remain in the life of a believer. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Cor 13:13). These three are what the church and individual believers should be known for. Let’s have a look at each one of them.
We all have faith either on a person or a thing. But again we desperately need faith that is firm and that is put on an object that is trustworthy. Biblically, faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1). We first need trust in God to be able to unlock the mystery of life. Secondly we need to constantly believe the promises of God. Faith in God is not blind but founded upon the promises of God. Faith that is put on people or things cannot stand the test of time. It is only God and his promises that are trustworthy.
It is natural and easy to doubt. But God calls us to live by faith not by sight (2 Cor. 5:17) for that pleases him. Note that the heroes and heroines (in Heb 11) are commended for their trust in God. Faith enables us walk closely with God. It helps us overcome our fears. Having an active faith in God makes it easy to obey, persevere, foresee, and live a life worthy of God.
Therefore we should be able to wake up into each new morning telling God “I believe you are….. and you can….”
Each one of us also needs hope. We also live in a world that is in dire need of hope. Like faith, hope can also be put on a something or a someone. When it is directed toward things (money, experience, education, family…) or a human being it will ultimately disappoint because these things are temporary. But hope that is put in God is solid and cannot fail.
Hope in God is able to transform us. When we put our hope in Jesus, we are gradually changed inwardly through the work of the Holy Spirit. We then experience transformation in our affections, emotions, minds, attitudes, and approach to life.
Again, hope is able to make us rejoice in any circumstance for hope in God does not depend on happenings. When we have such expectation we are able to say like Habbakuk, Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign Lord is my strength… (Habb. 3:17-19) Hope in God rejoices on the fact that God is at work even now. It is sure of the fulfillment of the things that faith beholds.
One can easily spot people with this kind of hope; they are full of joy, full of life, thankful, bold, and have an eternal perspective of things. It does not mean that their problems are all solved or that all of their prayers are answered. But they are aware that everything is secure in God’s hands and that God’s hands is on everything. They not only anticipate good out of present circumstances but also have hope of glory.
In a world full of suffering, trial, temptations, and evil; it is tough to maintain hope and easy to lose it. But it is good news to hear that God gives hope, he promised the exiles: “For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). He gives it freely!
In a morally corrupt Corinth, love had lost meaning; in such a context apostle Paul defined what true love is. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails (1 Cor. 13:4-8). Again, God is love (1 Jn. 4:8). We see this modeled in Jesus. Therefore true love involves learning from the example of Christ.
True love is not an abstract ideal but a real action to be expressed-loving God and his people. Like the way Jesus showed us, it involves giving sacrificially, Jn 3:16. What about the unlovable ones? Just love them! Life always presents us opportunities around us (of people who feel rejected, abandoned etc) to perfect our love. There is always a room to love and not to hate. And by doing so, we evidence our faith. The Body of Christ and individual believers today can make greater impact in the world by choosing to love. Love alone makes tears roll, tears of joy and tears of repentance. It is the weapon that the apostles used to conquer the mighty Roman empire.
It is faith that made the Thessalonians to turn from idols to true God; it is hope in Jesus that inspired their patience; it is love that prompted them to serve living and true God, (1Thess. 1:2-3).
In your journey of faith never let these three (faith, hope, and love) leave you!