The scripture of the day is: “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” I Cor. 13:13. These three principles are the essence of Christianity, the pillars of our daily spiritual life. Let’s see how we can apply them in our everyday life, and translate faith and hope into an action of love.
Let us start with faith. According to the American theologian, James Strong, the word that is used in the Bible for faith (“pistis”) means “assurance, persuasion, conviction.” Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Our daily lives are built on faith. When we work, for example, we trust that our employer will pay us at the end of the month. The credit system is based on trust that we will pay back the money we borrowed from the bank. The word “credit” actually comes from the Latin word meaning “to believe.” It is surprising, but the system works, at least most of the time.
Somehow, when it comes to God, we may on occasion find it difficult to remember what He has already done for us. Christians believe that Jesus died to provide salvation for all people, but have a hard time believing that God will provide for their individual needs, or forgive them for their mishaps. How often do you have worry about future events? How often do you worry about things that have already happened?
Let us see what the Bible tells us about worry. In Matthew 6:34, Jesus tells us “So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own.” In other versions, the scripture reads “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
God wants to have a faith-based relationship with you. When you are going through a tough time, remember to lean back on the scriptures, and find lessons about faith. To practice your faith means to trust that He will provide. When you do not have enough money to pay for rent, God will provide opportunities. They might not be what to you expect, but they will come.
Another aspect of faith is to let go of our expectations and let God work in His own ways. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” When you let go, your worries will go away too.
Hope is another aspect of faith. Isaiah 40:31 reads “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Merriam-Websterdefines hope as “to cherish a desire with anticipation, to want something to happen or be true.”
In other words, to be hopeful is to be optimistic, to see your glass as half full, not half empty. One of the root causes of anxiety and depression is a fundamental belief that everything is going to be bad. Note, that this is a belief, not a fact, because nobody knows what the future will bring. You can change that belief.
Hope is your positive attitude. You may not know, and perhaps things did not work out in the past, but you can believe that things will work out in the future. Romans 8:28 says “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
God does not want his children to be pessimists. In fact, the Bible is full of encouraging, reassuring verses about hope. Romans 15:13 says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Take it to heart, do not just read it and forget it. It is something you can rely on in your daily life.
Paul states that the greatest of the three virtues is love. Love is an action. Love is what happens when you believe in what God has done for you, and will do in the future. Love is the culmination of faith and hope.
In the same chapter, Paul gives us the definition of love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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)
To have that kind of love you need to be secure in God, you need to understand and believe in God’s love for us. There is nothing bigger than God’s love for humanity; He sent His beloved Son to die for our sins. The New Testament uses the Greek word for love, agape. Agape is a selfless love, sacrificial love, a love that prompts us to action.
FAITH, HOPE, & LOVE
Paul says that love always trusts, always hopes. It is a full circle of faith, hope, and love. You cannot have one without the other. Love stems from having faith and hope; it is the action we take when hope and faith overflow in our hearts. So when you have had a hard time taking the initiative to love, look inside and see if you are missing faith and hope.
By cultivating these virtues through regular Bible study, you can grow both your capacity to love, and your understanding of God’s love. If you are searching for a Bible course that fits your schedule, you can connect with others through an online Bible study at Getting to Know Your Bible. Sign up for a free online Bible course today.
May the Lord bless you and keep you!