Much is said about Love and basically always has been, especially since the dawn of the Ten Commandments. Love is threaded through out our society and encouraged in all aspects of our culture. Laws are structured around Love, per say. Millions of songs have been written about Love, books written, sermons preached and lessons taught.
So, why would I want to write about Love again here?
Well, to my limited knowledge, I have not heard Love spoken about as we will find within the next many lines, that I wish to convey and has been on my heart for some time and have forged an opinion and lifestyle around, since coming to this knowledge.
We know that scripture tells us that Love is the greatest out of the three main aspects of a Christians life and should abide with us and in us, at all times. ! Cor. 13:12-13. I always thought this to be an amazing statement "Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three abide: #Faith, #Hope,and #Love; but the greatest of these is #Love" Think about these three attributes of our lives for a moment.
Hope. all of us need Hope, we live in Hope, strive for Hope and even pursue Hope in our daily lives. Without Hope where would we be? Our lives are based in Hope, even the Hope for Love. Scriptures outlines that we Hope against Hope even.
The expression comes from the Bible, the Letter of Paul to the Roman Christians, chapter 4, verse 18. Here are some of the ways the expression could be translated. Each of the following has been altered slightly, but if you are interested in the exact wording, look here.
Even when there is no logical reason to hope, hope anyway.
Beyond hope, but maintaining faith in hope.
So, Hope is crucial, right?
Now, what about Faith? Faith is not just crucial but vital in our lives. Here are just a few of the scriptures that expresses the importance of Faith:
Hebrew 11:1, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 11:6 (without Faith, impossible to please God. Wow) 1 John 5:4, (This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith) 1 peter 1:8-9 ("for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls". The salvation of our souls even comes by faith) Roman 1:17 (“The righteous will live by faith.”)
Ok, so Faith is vital right? We can't please God without it, yet Paul tells us in Corinthians 13 that the greatest of these three is Love.
Why would Love trump Hope and Faith if it is by Faith that we are saved? Proverbs 13:12 says "Hope deferred makes the heart sick,but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." On and on we could go on about Hope and Faith and how they are set before and in us to not just maintain our place in Christ, but actually brings salvation.
Now Love. let's take a look at some of the profound verses about Love through out God's Word to us, His Love Letter, if you will.
We know first of all that God so Loved the world that He gave His only begotten son to die for us, to take the beaten, the stripes on His back and body, the piercing of the crown of thorns through His scalp, the nails in His hands and feet. The spear through His side. The spitting on His face. The pulling of His beard. The carrying of the cross up to Golgotha. The dying.
Let's say it this way about Love. Love is an action expressed and applied that is the track that allows the Holy Spirit to ride in on and change a persons life, in a way that demands and accomplishes a result to a better end.
Hope is an emotion, a venture, a journey of something not yet seen and may not be seen or come to flourish en in a persons life. you can't share Hope with another and trust that they will lay hold to it as you have, for the long run.
Faith is also a working within one persons mind and heart that allows them to believe and establish boundaries to move in.
Faith, again is the substance of things Hoped for and is the evidence of things not seen yet, if it all.
I can have Hope and Faith for something but if I am working outside of God's will for it, more than likely, when it is not accomplished, I lose that Faith or Hope for it
Faith and Hope are for the individual, most of the time. Love however is what is given, Just as the Father gave his Son because He loved.
The Scripture in 1 Corinthians 13:13 sounds great and is great but to truly know why Love is the greatest of the Three allows us to be strengthened by it. I can love a phrase but if I do not fully understand what it means and able to convey why, it is just a scripture and to the carnal man can not conceive why Love is greater than the other two. Especially when the majority of the time alot of people have a problem with the word "Love" because they have never really experienced it in their own lives, do not know how to demonstrate it or live in it. It is an empty word. It sounds like something they truly want but do not know how to accept it and embrace it in their lives, so it is meaningless to them and believe it truly does not exist.
Another way to say all this is this way. Love is the generator and motivator for the other two. That is true Hope and Faith are. Love is what allows us hang all other aspects of ethics and moral on and to impact others lives. Love is the plate that brings about true Hope and Faith. God is Love 1 John 4:16, "So, we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
Now briefly let us look at some powerful scriptures that will index this to us on some different levels.
1 Corinthian 13:4-5 " 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." Hope cannot do these things. Hope is self-seeking, meaning we hope because of something we are longing for.
Colossians 3:14 "And over all these virtues put on Love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." Love is the binding force for all virtues and does it in a perfect way, not imperfect.
1 Corinthians 16:14 "Do everything in love." Not in Faith, Not in Hope But Love.
Ephesians 4:2 "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Love is what allows us to bear one another's burdens. Love helps carry the cross of another, their cares. It is what prompts us to pray for them and encourage them. Love in Action.
Ephesians 3:16-17 "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love." Love is our root system, Love is our foundations it is what establishes us, to be set and sure.
1 Corinthians 13:2 "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." We see can have Faith here to even move a mountain but if we do not have Love we are nothing. Love is what creates the proper motivation for Hope and Faith.
Romans 12:10 "Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." Love is what will encourage us and want to honor others before ourselves, Just as Jesus did for each and everyone of us.
Love is the power of God. Love is the heart of God. God is Love.
I hope you better understand why Paul would say "The greatest of these is Love"
Keep Hope alive, stay in Faith but be established rooted in Love. Love for God, love for others and you will know the peace that passes all understanding. The darkness will be driven out by the light of God's love in and through you.
Kenneth D. Mitchell