1 Corinthians 13:13 says that three things remain: faith, hope, and love. The greatest of these is love, but why do these three stand fast? Why can faith, hope, and love remain when other things fail? And why are they so important in the Word?!
Join us as we discover how faith, hope, and love are vital for every Believer, and why love is key!
A Cohesive Trio… Faith, Hope, and Love!
1 Corinthians 13 is entitled, “The Greatest Gift.” This, of course, is speaking of love, but two other things still come closely behind in terms of importance… faith and hope.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
—1 Corinthians 13:13
Faith and hope are certainly Godly traits or characteristics, but as we learn in 1 Corinthians 13, without love to stand in the gap, the value they bring diminishes. While this certainly sets them in a new light, both faith and hope remain important, so much so that 1 Corinthians 13:13 even mentions them residing in a sort of ‘top three’ lineup of vital God-centered traits! Ones that remain…
Yet, love is at the heart of this cohesive trio.
Love is what causes them all to flourish.
But why is that?
How does love, that tiny word that bridges differences and hurts, cause faith and hope to arise?
At the end of 1 Corinthians 13, three things remain: faith, hope, and love.
As Believers, it might be easy to believe that faith should stand highest. After all, our very belief in God rests in faith. However, that is not the case…
Because, as 1 Corinthians 13 states over and over again, when love is missing, be it from faith, prophecy, giving, etc., the power and even their worth disappears. It is obvious that faith is something we need… something good. But without love, it is just noise. Purposeless noise. And this applies just as strongly to prophecy, giving, hope, and all other things which are good…
God is Love
“He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
—1 John 4:8
And because we are made in His image, we are meant to love. We are meant to be in sync with HIS heart, not He with ours. And at the center of His heart is love…
The very knowledge that God is love makes it obvious why out of the three that remain—faith, hope, and love—love is the greatest of them. It takes it from a fact that is hard to accept, to one that stands sure in every test…
But love not only remains and stands as the greatest out of faith, hope, and love… it is also a vessel that allows us to answer God’s will. One which fulfills the Law of God so that all He desires for us can flow freely (see Galatians 5:7-15, Romans 13:8-10, Matthew 22:37-40, and Mark 12:28-34).
Love prepares the heart to answer the heart of God!
“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.”
“If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?”
God weighs our hearts, but when love is absent what remains? How can we pass the test?
How Do I Walk in Love?
Accepting that love is an important key to our walk with God is one thing… accepting and then utilizing the love of God is quite another matter. Not because we do not WANT His love. And not because we do not want to become a vessel of that love…
But because we are not always flawless. Sometimes we encounter things that are contrary to God’s love and become angry. Sometimes we see someone who does not follow God’s laws and ways flourishing and we know envy. Sometimes we simply desire what we want and allow selfishness to guide us…
These are all things common to people, even Believers. But it does not have to be! God can weigh our hearts and find love!
It takes a healthy dose of God, His will, His Word, and even fellowship with Believers, but we can know and echo the Father’s love…
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 provides a beautiful picture of what love—true love as can only be taught by God—is and is not. In those verses, we discover that…
Love is patient.
It is kind.
It does not boast.
It does not envy. It is not proud.
It does not dishonor. It is not self-seeking or easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs.
It does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects. It always trusts. Always hopes. Perseveres. And NEVER FAILS.
This is a taste of the love of God. And we can each experience it!
We can open our hearts to our God. We can read His Word. We can think on things that are good. We can choose to forgive, even when we may not want to…
In all these things we can grow! We can improve as we again and again choose love…
Not every day will be easy. Things go wrong, people disappoint us, and we can step out of love. But the key is to not stay in that place but return to God’s ways. To choose to repent and step forward in love!
Ask, Seek, & Knock | Accepting Love
For us to accept the love of God and then walk it out, we require relationship with God…
In each season of our walk with God, we may view the manifestation of this relationship with Him differently, however, certain key points remain. We need to spend time with Him. We need to read His Word. We need to be intentional in our interactions with Him… and we need to ask, seek, and knock. Not only so we can discover the greatest of these, love, but so we can experience and learn all that God desires for us!
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”
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But we still need love. We need to:
the Father to impart His love into our hearts so that we can know it AND walk in it!
His love in all we do so that we can find it!
on the doors of Heaven so that they will be opened and we can experience our God’s love!
Our God is not distant or obscure. He is a loving Father, Teacher, and Friend! When we ask, seek, and knock, God gladly opens up the windows of Heaven, giving us all that we need… beyond even what we could ask or think!
Keep asking. Keep seeking. Keep knocking. Be like the persistent widow of Luke 18 until the love of God has been abundantly poured into your life and your cup runs over (see Psalm 23:5 and Luke 6:38)!
“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, “Get justice for me from my adversary.” And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”’
“Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?’”