- 1 Corinthians 13:11-13
The three verses shown above from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians are part of one of the best known passages in the New Testament. And it closes with powerful words describing three critical elements needed in abiding with Jesus Christ for eternity.
Faith is critical since without faith we cant believe in Him. Faith lets us understand the truth that is there to see with evidence but not scientific proof. But, then again, in the true Christian sense faith comes from opening to the Spirit within us, part of the living God. and comes from another realm, that being God.
Hope in the Christian sense is also important. It gives us the impetus to keep ourselves cheerful, not woeful not unto ourselves, and it is based on promise of a better future. Otherwise, we could easily fall to the anguish of negative things that can happen to us that we truly don't understand or why they took place.
But neither faith or hope are as important as love, for if they are not based on the Spirit they can lead us to placing that faith and hope in things that can bring us down or might not turn out so well. Examples might be in putting our faith in a frail, faulty politician and our hope for a better life based only upon wealth or other earthly things. Such will never provide the strength to enrich our Spirit and carry us to Eternal Life with God in heaven above.
Only love can provide that opportunity and it is the one thing that God puts above all else. To really have faith and hope used correctly they just help us attain love for all mankind, something that is not easily done. But if we think about it from God's perspective, He knows that we are mortal humans and make mistakes, but he wants us to put forth a continual effort to treat others as we wish to be treated. It's really just as simple as the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Now it's easy to love those who love us. But it becomes difficult when we have to apply love to those who have wronged us or those that are just not very lovable. Yet it is something we are expected to live in everything we do and with every person we meet. In that way our faith and our hope can also shine on each person we come in contact with. And while we may not realize it's impact, every time we show kindness to someone else, and in particular those who have done us wrong, we have sewn a seed that can work wondrous things even if we aren't aware.
Paul's basic pronouncement in those three final verses of Chapter 13 or 1 Corinthians is indeed powerful. And it offers the encouragement of being provided by a man who was a terrible sinner himself who found the Way, the Truth and the Life. Sounds like a great act to follow, so why don't we just try it?
Dear Lord, We thank you for the wonderful writings of the Apostle Paul and we thank you for the love and grace which we continually receive from you. Fill us with faith, hope and above all love and help us to apply that love in all that we do. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.