But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13, NASB1995).
The Apostle Paul teaches us to abide in faith, hope, and love. Your spiritual vitality and emotional health can be discerned by checking your faith, hope, and love.
The opposite of faith is fear, the opposite of hope is despair, and the opposite of love is lust.
The evil one doesn’t want followers of Jesus walking in faith, hope, and love, so he will tempt you to fear, despair, and lust. Mostly, his seductions aren’t big and easily recognizable – you need money, so he doesn’t tempt you to rob a bank, but instead cheat a bit on your taxes.
Small compromises lead to larger sins.
Best to discern your fears, discouragements, and lusts while taking steps to abide in faith, hope, and love. How do we abide by these three characteristics? It’s difficult to get up in the morning and declare, “Today, I’m going to have more faith, more hope, and more love.”
Let’s understand what Paul is saying when he tells us to live with faith, hope, and love.
I have been using the word “delight” as my synonym for “faith” for the last few years. Faith yields joy, happiness, and delight.
I ask myself, “What gives me delight?”
If I’ve lost “delight” – having little purpose, dreading the day instead of anticipating challenges, and sensing increased anxiety, then I need a renewed dose of faith.
Nehemiah 8:10 teaches us, “The joy of the Lord is our strength!” I get joy from regular praise and thanksgiving both in my personal devotions and in corporate worship.
I have been using the word “peace” as a synonym for “hope” recently. I have difficulty knowing if I’m living with hope, but I can quickly discern whether I have peace.
Hope is a supernatural gift.
There is no hope without the resurrection of Jesus, both in eternity and for our daily living. As a culture loses traction with God, it gets stuck in a slough of despair.
Unfortunately, children and youth are the primary recipients of a culture losing hope. Not having emotional maturity, they are easily impacted by society’s pronouncements of doubt and confusion.
The Word of God is the solution.
The Bible is inspired by God, and the Spirit literally speaks peace through meditating on His words.
I have been using the word “serve” as a synonym for “love.” Today, love is presented as lust in social media, in most movies, and through common conversations.
The spirit of this age constantly tempts us to focus on our needs, our frustrations, and our victimization. Love as serving, love as forgiving, and love as sacrificing for others is the opposite of lust.
First Corinthians 13:13 says that “love” is the greatest. Faith and hope are needed today but will not be needed in eternity. We will be able to see God, no longer needing faith, and we will be in heaven with our hopes fulfilled.
God is love!
His love for us will be displayed throughout eternity. His greatest example of love is sending His Son to die on the cross. We learn to love through “serving,” not “receiving.”
Who are you going to serve today?
Let’s take a few minutes to check our faith, hope, and love. Let’s ask God to increase our faith, hope, and love.
Serve, not lust; peace, not despair; delight, not fear!
Serve, Peace, Delight!