I Corinthians 11-14: Faith, Hope & Love

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

I Cor. 13:13, ESV

 

What do you think of, when you read the words from the passage above? Many people will read this and falsely conclude that service to God is essentially a service of thoughts and emotions... but they would be only partially right.

 

It is true that all three of these involve what we think and the emotional responses that come about from these thoughts. Faith does involve the mental processing of information, hope evokes a very deep and visceral response from within towards the promises of God that we long for, and love, of course, is one of the greatest emotions that we possess.

 

So it is quite true that these three things - faith, hope and love - are very much mental and emotional responses, but the Bible also indicate something far more involved that mere thought. The Word of God also indicates that those who possess these three attributes will be motivated to do something in addition to merely thinking and feeling. Consider the following passage from Paul's inspired letter to the Thessalonian church:

 

We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Thessalonians 1:3, NIV

 

Do you see it? When Paul wrote to the church he talked about faith, hope and love, but not as mere mental and emotional responses. He pointed out that faith would produce work, that love would prompt labor, and that hope would inspire endurance. In other words these three greatest of all Christian attributes would be something that cause us to not only think something and feel something, but they would also cause us to do something.

 

And when you think about it, you can see why. For anything worthwhile in life goes far beyond mere thoughts and feelings. Life is a participation event, and our Christian walk is the most important part of this life. Is it any wonder that God wants His servants to use these beautiful attributes in every way possible to enhance every part of our service to Him, to Jesus, and to others?

 

The readings for the next several days are from I Corinthians 11-14. They have all sorts of information as to how the church was expected to serve: first with the miraculous gifts that were available in the early stages of the church, and now with the greatest things that remain for the Lord's church today: Faith, hope and love!