And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Focus on Christ
Why is love the greatest of these three virtues? When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:36-37).
The love that Jesus teaches about is agape love. This love only comes from God and remains forever. As you give your heart to God, He fills it with His Love. This love provides a deep abiding in Christ, which in turn produces faith and hope. Without love you would not have faith or hope in the One True God. When you receive God’s Love, it will produce faith and hope that will carry you through the troubles and difficulties of life.
The only response that reveals the love that you have for God is faith and hope in Him. Faith is what pleases the Lord and shows your desire to obey Him. Without love for God, you will not have faith in Him or His Word. This process begins with Him revealing Himself to you. As the relationship develops, your love for God will grow. As this grows, your faith and hope in Him will grow. Many desire a faith like Abraham, but many are not interested in a relationship with God that is required to have faith like Abraham. Abraham trusted God with Isaac. Trust did not happen overnight, but developed over many years of God revealing Himself to Abraham.
Why is love greater than faith and hope? Faith helps you relate to and believe in God. Faith is something that originates with you but is fulfilled by the Love of God. When God sees true faith, He places His Love within that person in order to function completely with a spiritual faith and confidence in Him. Hope is founded on the promises of God. When you walk in His Love, you believe what He says in His Word and trust that what He says will come to pass. His Love for you is what makes this hope complete. All three are from the grace of God and will last forever while prophecies, knowledge, and other abilities will fade away. Love is the greatest among faith and hope because it is what keeps the relationship between God and believers intimate and real. Faith and hope are an outcome of a love relationship with God. There could be no faith or hope without love. Love is what provided the plan and the purpose of salvation. Faith and hope come only because of what Love planned and provided.
Focus on Self
To focus on self produces an inability to experience the Love of God. When you choose faith in self instead of faith in God, your relationship with Him will be stunted. But thanks to God’s gracious Love you can live in an abiding Love that takes you through times of difficulty and despair. When someone shows love to you in troubled times, it soothes your soul. God always provides this kind of love.
*Taken from Gifts from God by Kerry Skinner and Alison Veazey. Click here to order your copy.