January 1 I Tuesday
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” —1 Corinthians 13:13
Paul beautifully states that faith, hope and love are essential ingredients to the Christian life. Faith is our disposition and attitude towards God; hope is our disposition and attitude towards the future and love is our disposition and attitude towards others.
All of Christian experience sits on faith, hope and love. Like a three-legged stool, if one of the legs break, the stool will collapse. Love without faith, faith without hope and hope without love is not a functioning Christian life. We are not at liberty to have one without the other. These three must remain intact and operate together.
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as, “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Living by faith is not deciding I am going to have faith for something special today. It is confidence rooted in Christ, His finished work on the cross and all it accomplished for both now and eternity. It is an everyday disposition in which we persevere through the dark tunnels of life, confident of God’s working in our lives even though we do not see an end result.
Faith and hope are intricately connected. There are about 158 verses in the Bible that address hope, and it is never spoken of as the kind of unsure optimism as is commonly used today. “I hope they saved me some apple pie,” or “I hope it will be sunny today.” In Scripture, hope is used as a confident expectation, orienting our lives around a better future in such a way that gives confidence in the present, regardless of our present circumstances. It is not an escape from troubling situations, but a confident expectation of what we are ultimately going to experience and enjoy in Christ.
Love is the greatest of all virtues, because as John states, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is not simply an attribute of God such as His omnipotence or omniscience. Love is His core, His very being. Everything that is true of God is permeated with love, including His wrath, a necessary expression of His love. If God did not get angry with sin, we would have to question His love. We are all broken people, but God infiltrates our fallen natures by spreading His love abroad in our hearts, giving us the capacity and will to love one another. Love is the highest expression of the Christian life.
Faith, hope and love are a blessing from God, a divine gift that sees us through any situation and with the confident expectation of a glorious, everlasting future with Him.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, as I begin this new year, help me to combine faith, hope and love as an everyday disposition that enables me to live a life pleasing to You. Thank You, Lord.