Faith, hope and love matter most

Brian Lucas

Brian Lucas

Faith, hope, and love. These things that remain and outlast and matter most. Faith, hope, and love: missing ingredients in far too many of our interactions with other humans who bear the image of God alongside us. We need these today more than ever.

In a letter to a vibrant but deeply flawed church, the Apostle Paul wrote that the most important aspect of their community and life was love. He described the church community as a body, synergistic and unified, working toward a common goal. Concluding talk of spiritual gifts, he transitions to his true point with this: “But desire the greater gifts. And I will show you an even better way.” (1 Corinthians 12:31 CSB)  Which brings us to Chapter 13 of 1 Corinthians.

In the beginning of the chapter, Paul repeatedly points out how no manner of gifting, no show of power, no great sacrifice is worth anything without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) And this begs the question: what is love? Is it merely romantic feelings? Clearly not in this context. Is love a requirement to accept all ideas and desires equally? Is love a declaration of tolerance at all costs? Is love about feelings or action? He lays it out for us like this, and here we find some necessary guidelines for our every interaction with and reaction to others in this community and in our world.

“Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 CSB)

Patience and kindness are defining characteristics of love. We are to reject both envy and boasting, to refrain from overestimating the value of others’ accomplishments as well as our own. It used to be that you would see people act unloving online, but rarely in real life when we can see the person opposite us. But lately, I hear more and more arrogance and rudeness. I see people who are out for their own gain, easily agitated, and obsessed with declaring the blemished track record of those they disagree with. Truth is rarely the point. We’d rather be “right” by having chosen the winning side than stand for truth and lose.

Our world is full of accomplishments and accumulated stuff. Can we find that more excellent way? All the things we fight over in this world will cease and fade away. It’s all dust, a vapor, a fading mist. “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:13)

Let us rejoice in loving others well, in the name of Jesus, that we might engage in something that will last forever. And may the world know Jesus as Lord by the love they see in His people.

Brian Lucas is co-pastor of Pax Christian Church


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