Tuesday, June 14, 2016

And the greatest of these....I Corinthians 13

Faith, Hope and Love


We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation. Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 
(I Corinthians 13:12-13   The Message)


A few weeks ago a group of ladies and I completed a three week Sunday School class on the topic of faith, hope and love using 
I Corinthians 13 as our guide. One of the many things we talked about over the course of those weeks, is how often people use these three words in everyday language in ways that are so different from the way the words are used in scripture. I know I often say I "love" things ranging from pretty dresses to chocolate to pizza. I "hope" the weekend comes quickly or that I get around to doing some chores I need to do. I don't hear faith used quite as much as hope and love...but it is a word that gets bandied about as well. Of course, one of the ladies brought up the point that other languages have many words that can be used for "love" that fit the individual usage of the word. In English we don't have other words. So sometimes, the scriptural definition of faith, hope and love can get muddied in our everyday usage. 

As I read and meditate on this scripture, I realize that the scripture points to faith, hope and love as verbs....action words...rather than nouns. In other words, I have to put love, faith and hope into the actions of my life as I seek to live closer to the Lord. In verses earlier in the chapter, Paul talks about how love never gives up, cares more for others than for self, doesn't strut, have a swelled head and isn't always "me first." It's not always easy to put love into action is it? 

One of the women in our group wisely reminded us that this scripture doesn't mean we are supposed to be "doormats" and let other people walk over us. That's where we need to seek the Lord's guidance about how to love others. Sometimes, love must be tough. Sometimes, love may mean setting healthy boundaries for ourselves or others. Sometimes, love may mean opening our hearts to those who are hard to love. Sometimes, love may mean offering forgiveness to those who have hurt us. And that includes being able to love ourselves as well.....

For me, the key to understanding how the Lord is guiding me to put faith, hope and love into action in my life is accomplished through praying often, studying the scripture and seeking to listen for Christ's voice in my life. It is in this intimate relationship with Christ that I am able to move forward each day to "trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly and love extravagantly." 

And how wonderful that "loving extravagantly" has no price tag....although it sounds expensive....it is free for the giving and for the receiving!

May you have a day filled with the extravagant love of God!!

Until Next Time,


Thursday Favorite Things


Karen said...

I truly enjoyed this post Debbie. Thinking of faith, hope and love as verbs really changes things up. You're right, we use these words in so many ways, but I'm focusing on them as verbs. Love certainly is an action word for the Lord, in the way that He loves us. Sometimes love is easy, sometimes very difficult, but we are instructed to love others just as we are instructed to forgive. Jesus never said it was always going to be easy! Thank you for giving me something to ponder tonight!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thank you, Karen. I'm glad this post is helpful and gives you something to ponder. I have adjusted my thinking more about faith, hope and love as I think of the words as verbs. Hope you have a a great day tomorrow!

Unknown said...

Love is an action and there are many ways to love. Hope - we can always hope because our hope is in the Lord and his mighty power as is our faith. Our faith in God's love for us and him acting for our ultimate good. Excellent post on this scripture!

Debbie Styles Life said...

Thanks you, Cathy, for your kind comments.