Remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 1:3
In his treatise on love, the Apostle Paul declared, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13. Faith, hope and love… lofty ideals, often accompanied by well worn platitudes that have overspent their usefulness. Here are a few for example:
– Let go and let God.
– Everything happens for a reason.
– Too blessed to be stressed.
– God will never give you more than you can handle.
– It’s the darkest just before dawn.
– Time heals all wounds
– What doesn’t kill me will only make me stronger.
– We’re all in this together.
– Love means never having to say you are sorry.
– All’s fair in love and war.
– Love makes the world go round.
– Make love, not war.
– Love Wins.
It is easy to begin believing that faith, hope and love are nothing more than sappy sentiments that get thrown around at weddings and funerals by human hallmark cards. Paul, however, pulls these ideals out of the ivory towers and into the gritty reality of our day to day lives. Faith, hope and love come with work gloves. Let’s look a little more closely…
Faith, hope and love come with work gloves.Warren Mainard
1. Work of Faith: Faith, in the life of a Christian, is an active trust and dependence upon God through Jesus Christ. We are saved by faith in Christ, believing that through God’s grace, we can be rescued and redeemed from the consequences and slavery of sin. Faith, without works, however, is dead (see James 2:14-26). If an outpouring of Christ-like behavior and action does not overflow from our faith in God, than we are completely missing out on God’s purpose and plan for our lives. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
2. Labor of Love: Love is far more than a feeling or emotion; love is a choice, a commitment, and a covenant. You can’t fall into or out of God’s love, because God’s love is unconditional, demonstrated by His choice to send His Son (John 3:16) and Christ’s choice to die on the cross to save us from our sins (Romans 5:8). Love is more than a montage of romantic highlights; it is choosing to care for, forgive and serve another person, even after they have hurt or disappointed you. When we love one another, the way that Christ loved us, we walk through the struggle, sorrow, and suffering, refusing to give up on one another, because Christ never gives up on us.
Love is more than a montage of romantic highlights; it is choosing to care for, forgive and serve another person, even after they have hurt or disappointed you.Warren Mainard
3. Steadfastness of Hope: Hope perseveres in adversity. Fair weather, bandwagon fans of Jesus will quickly jump ship when they experience their first taste of hardship. It happened in Jesus’ day too, even amongst those who had heard Jesus preach and seen Jesus perform miracles. Once, after Jesus taught some difficult lessons on sacrifice and the Gospel, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.” John 6:66. Many give up on Jesus and give up on hope when things get difficult and the good times come to an end. After a large crowd of Johnny Come-lately’s left Him in the dust, He turned to His disciples and asked, “Do you want to go away as well?” Peter’s response to Jesus gives us an insight into the steadfastness of his hope, as well as our own, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:66-68). Jesus alone has the words of eternal life… wherever His narrow and difficult path leads, we have hope that it will lead us home to our Heavenly Father and green pastures (see Matthew 7:14, John 14:6, Luke 15:18 and Psalm 23)
Have you put skin on your faith, hope and love? Have you put skin in the game of life? Pious sayings and empty platitudes do nothing to impress God or move the needle in the Kingdom of God. Our Gospel, must “come to us not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5