We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus
and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven,
of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.
The Supremacy of Love!
Like Paul, we give thanks to God that we are able to love and love deeply. And likewise, there must be concern if we are found without love.
Paul wrote the greatest chapter on love in the Bible. In first Corinthians 13, he proclaims the superiority of love not only to spiritual gifts, but to all other things as well. In this same chapter, he identifies for us the highest of all Christian virtues: faith, hope and love, but he clearly demonstrates that love reigns supreme.
I just returned from teaching “Truly Beautiful” in Decatur, Texas. With the exception of the women who invited me to come, I spent a weekend with a room full of people I didn’t know. God gave me such a love for these ladies and in the same way He gave them a love for me. Only the Spirit of God can do that! It seemed as if we had known each other forever and it was hard to say goodbye as the conference came to an end!
How does this love happen – with faith and hope! It has been said that
- Faith is the soul looking upward to God
- Love looks out to others
- Hope anticipates the future
In other words, faith rests on the finished work of Christ; love works in the present; and hope is the absolute expectation of coming good! If our love is waning, it may be a good indicator that we are lacking in faith or hope.
You and I know that faith is essential to the Christian life. Hebrews 11:1 and verse 6 tell us that “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see . . . without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek him.” We are saved through faith, we are justified by faith, and the Bible tells us that the righteous will live by faith.
Hope is also vital to the Christian life. We have the hope of salvation, the hope of the resurrection, and the blessed hope of Christ’s return. Our hope is not like the world’s hope, marked by uncertainty and doubt. Rather, Christian hope is bold, strong and confident in the promises of God. “Hope does not disappoint us,” Paul writes in Romans 5:5, “because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.”
But we must remember that nothing we say, nothing we have, nothing we do has any lasting value apart from love. Why – because we are the recipients of the greatest love and we find its true definition at the cross:
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Our faith and hope will materialize in heaven, but because of Christ, love endures forever.
Read 1 Corinthians 13 this week remembering that without love we profit nothing. In what areas of your life or ministry do you need to love more? Where might you be lacking in faith or hope?
Remember this week, Christ’s love for you. Hebrews 2:3 exhorts us to not neglect so great a salvation. What has Christ saved you from? Take time to journal your answers.
Pray for your enemies. The hardest command to live out is to love our enemies. Ask Christ to give you grace and strength this week to love those who are so difficult to love. Be sure also to extend forgiveness to those who have hurt you. Do not allow unforgiveness to quench the Spirit of God in your life.