Faith, Hope, and Love

My Brothers, there has never been a time in recent history more than the present that God’s men need to boldly display faith, hope and love.  The Apostle Paul gives us a very straightforward description of where we should be focused in 1 Corinthians 13 when he says “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  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 have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, 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. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor 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 remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  (verses 1-13)

In these days there will be many who want to point the finger of blame or cast doubt on the future of our nation. Likewise there will also be many who celebrate in victory and if they are not careful can quickly allow their celebration to cross the line and become boastful or uncaring of others feelings.  Before we get drawn into this temptation, let’s look at the instruction that Jesus gave in Matthew 23.  He said “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”   It is a time for God’s men to look inside first and take care of the most important thing above all else and that is a right relationship with their Heavenly Father.  You see without that right relationship we cannot have faith; and without faith we cannot demonstrate hope; and without hope we cannot share the love of Jesus Christ with those who cross our paths.  If we are not careful, we can become just like the men that Jesus is scolding.  They are simply putting on an appearance, a facade of being what God called them to be but inside they are a dirty sinful mess.  Greed, self-indulgence, hypocrisy and wickedness all lead us away from faith, hope and love.  I think Jesus is telling us that what is on the outside should be a reflection of what is on the inside.  The world will tell us than men should honor strength and power and many of us have bought into that lie.  It is often out of a desire to gain strength and power that a man loses sight of faith, hope and love.  We should recognize that the world will follow those individuals who are perceived to have strength and power.  God’s plan for us is not that we should focus on our own strength and power but to know that it is His strength and power that provides and cares for us.  While men are often skilled at giving lip service to this concept, the reality is many of us live our lives demonstrating the belief in man’s strength and power rather than complete trust and commitment to God’s strength and power.

In the days ahead we are going to see and hear men who are nothing more than resounding gongs or clanging cymbals.  I pray that you and I will do as the Apostle Paul and put childish ways behind us.  God’s men are needed more now than ever before to become the ambassadors of God’s love.  “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, 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.”   Brother if you have experienced the life changing experience of meeting Jesus Christ as your personal savior then your life should reflect faith, hope and love no matter what is happening in the world around you.  It may be good or it may be less than good but it is still God’s world and He is still in control.  I hope you will join me in a daily prayer asking God to give us the strength, courage and boldness to let the people around us see God’s love through our faith and hope.  As the Apostle Paul said “But the greatest of these is love.”

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