Faith + Hope + Love
Today I would like to start by saying three stories.
There was a village. They were undergoing a terrible famine and were facing threats to their farmlands. Therefore the head of the village called a prayer meeting to pray for rain. Everyone in the village went for prayer but only a small boy brought an umbrella with him! This is ‘Faith.’
Every night when we go to bed we wind up or set the alarm clock to get up at certain time the next day. This is ‘Hope.’
A child when thrown up in air by his father, the child is not afraid for he knows his father will catch him! This is ‘Love.’
Throughout our lives we also need these three factors faith, hope and love. This gives us the strength to face big problems in life and to over come them. In Bible we see in many places everything will go away, like your parents, brothers, sisters, friends, relatives, even the sky and earth will go away but the only thing that will never go away even if everything go away is God and his words!
“Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 10:17-22 NIV)
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”. (Matthew 24:35 NIV)
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” (Luke 21:33 NIV)
See everything will change and go away but God and His words they will never go away. There are some other things that will remain. They are Faith, Hope and Love! Because they come from God.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)
So it is mandatory to have these three factors as the very basis of our lives. Let’s look each in detail.
What is Faith? Hebrews 11:1 says-“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NIV). We see faith as a confidence for things that we hope for but haven’t got it yet. In the first story it clearly tells us about the difference between faith and true faith. All villagers came to pray but only the small boy came with an umbrella because he believed it is going to rain. The undoubtedly belief is what true faith is and this is what God also wants us to have in life. Not the kind of faith that can twist around in wind.
“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14 NIV)
We need to have faith as Abraham had. When he was told leave behind everything and set forth to a place what God wanted to give him, he obeyed and left behind everything and set forth the journey! If this been told you today how many of you will obey this? That’s the true faith Abraham had in God.
‘The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.’ (Genesis 12:1-5 NIV)
Not only that when Abraham set forth the journey he was seventy five years old and his wife was sixty five. They didn’t had any children. But God also promised to make him a big nation! It seemed impossible but Abraham trusted God. And when he was 100 years old and Sarah his wife was 90 she gave birth to Issac! To any medical science it seemed impossible but when Abraham trusted God, God counted him as righteous and rewarded him Issac and every blessing.
“Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:6 NIV)
What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Romans 4:3 NIV)
So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (Galatians 3:6 NIV)
‘And when Abraham trusted God even though Sarah had past the age of bearing child God enabled her to do it. “And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.”‘ (Hebrews 11:8-12 NIV)
So when Abraham put his full Faith in God- ‘By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.’ (Hebrews 11:8-12 NIV)
Again coming to Genesis 22 we see God testing Abraham by asking him to give the only child who he got at age of hundred to give back to God as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah! If God ask you to do it will you do it? A son he been waiting all his lifetime and was born when he was hundred and now God ask him back as a sacrifice?! What kind of God is he? How can he ask such a thing? But when we read down we see Abraham obeyed God and went ahead as God asked him for he had strong Faith in God that God is able to resurrect Issac from dead!
‘By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.’ (Hebrews 11:17-19 NIV)
What an amazing man of God! That is why Abraham been called the Father of Believers! We need to have faith in God as a fool! Many a times it won’t be comparable to the logic of our wisdom to what God ask us, but if we trust him completely by putting our faith in him and obey him we will see miracles in life!
I would summarise Faith with a short story. One day a mountaineer was climbing up a steep snow caped mountain. The weather went bad and he was stuck up while climbing the mountain. It came dark. He was stepping on a piece of rock and leaning on the rope. Due to the long wait and tiredness he slipped his feet and fell down steeply. Luckily he was hanging on his safety rope. It started to become more and more cold and he couldn’t see anything around. He cried out for help but nobody could hear him. So he prayed to God and he heard God asking him to cut his safety rope off! He couldn’t believe what he heard and pretended not to do it. But to other mountaineers who came that way the next day they found the person dead hanging on the safety rope just 3 feet above the ground! See if he would have cut his safety rope he wouldn’t be dead but when he heard to cut his rope off he couldn’t believe to what he heard and as a result he lost his life. Things at times seems not logical but if you trust God and obey without questioning, it will turn out to be a blessing!
‘For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.’ (1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV)
Hope comes to those who have faith. Without faith you have no hope. Hope is the trust that good things will happen no matter how bad your current situation is! We all hope for different things. People who undergoing problems hope to get over their problems as soon as possible, to the poor they hope to get rich, to who are sick they hope to feel better, to those who have scarcity on food they hope to get enough food for every time of meal. To homeless they hope to have a family and have their own house. Like according to the need, people hope for different things. But the real hope of every human should be to meet our creator God. That should be our real hope.
We all know about Job in bible. God himself testifies Job as blameless, upright, fearing God and shunning evil! Wow what a great man! Have you ever thought what will God testify about ourself? Let’s get away all evil deeds and live in the path of righteousness as Job and get a great testimony like Job in our lives. Job had 7 sons and 3 daughters. He was a very rich man. He had 7000 sheep, 3000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys and a large amount of servants. He was a Lord in his place ‘Uz.’
But satan wanted to touch Job but God had well protected him and satan couldn’t touch him. But God let satan to touch all belongings of Job except Job. (Please go through Job chapters 1 and 2). So one day when all his children had gathered in oldest brother’s place, suddenly a strong wind hit the house from all four sides and the house fell over his children and they all perished. While he was saying another servant came running and told him his 500 yoke oxen and 500 donkeys were gazing in the field suddenly Sabeans came and captured all the animals and killed his servants. While he was saying another servant came and informed a fire from sky consumed 7000 sheep and all servants except him. While he was saying another servant came and told him Chaldeans came in three groups and captured his 3000 camels and killed all servants except him! What a tragedy! How can God allow something like that happen to such a noble man? If you were in his place what would you do? Obviously we would be asking God, God even though I been living with such great testimony from you and is this how you treat me? But it is very important the way how Job responded.
‘At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.’ (Job 1:20-22 NIV)
What a great servant of God! Can anyone of us can speak like that when such calamity strike our lives? Forget such calamity when we have a single problem before us wouldn’t we get upset over the small issue and ask many questions to God?
Again things don’t stop there satan asks God for more permission and God grants him the permission to touch him but not his life. Satan touches Job from crown of head to soles of his feet with painful sores! Job took a broken pottery and scraped himself with it while sitting in ash! Oh what a tragedy! Even his wife ask him to curse God and die! But Job answers-‘He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.’ (Job 2:10 NIV). What a great man! Can you imagine anyone of that sort? Even though he was undergoing such misery God testifies ‘in all this Job did not sin in what he said.’ Three of his friends came to visit him and seeing his state they couldn’t utter a word for 7 days and 7 nights.
Even though things went this bad Job didn’t loose his hope. If this had happened to any of us we will hope to get over all the troubles as soon as possible but Job’s hope is amazing. In Job:19 we can see his hope. ‘I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!’ (Job 19:25-27 NIV). What an amazing hope he had! It didn’t matter his present situations. Worms were coming out go his wounds! But Job says it doesn’t matter to me whether I live or die but for sure I know I will resurrect in flesh one day if I die and surely will see God with my own eyes! What a mighty hope he had! Let’s also have this true hope not to overcome the small problems afflicting us but to meet God face to face like Job did.
And for such a great servant God couldn’t make him suffer longer for God himself came to Job and God healed him. He blessed Job twice as before! He had seven sons and three daughters. He had 14000 sheep, 6000 camels, 1000 yoke oxen and 1000 donkeys and countless servants!
‘The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters.’ (Job 42:12-13 NIV).
What an amazing man of God! Let’s also be like Job who don’t worry on the current situations but to put full faith, trust, hope and love in God and wait to meet God face to face regardless of our troubles. This is what true hope is. This is why Jesus said in Mathew 6:33-“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NIV). Therefore let’s put our hope in not just getting over the current problems we face but put our hopes higher to meet God face to face and lead a holy life like Job.
And to those who live with such hope it is written- ‘Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV). Let this be our hope to meet God in heaven and to be with him forever and ever!
Love is the affection or feeling we have to others. The intensity of love differs depending on the closeness to the person. There are different types of love. Parental love were parents love their children, love between lovers, love between friends, the relation between teacher and student. A random act of kindness! Like these there are different kinds and types of love. But Jesus says-“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NIV).
Can anyone love anyone more than their own life? Can anyone give their life for somebody who they never knew? There is only one and only one who did so and He is none other than Jesus Christ!
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16 NIV)
Jesus who was living in heaven in all the splendour and glory came down to this wretched world for saving you and me, each and everyone who was lost in depths of sin, who were condemned for death, who lost the connection between God and man. But Jesus died on the Cross of Calvary by breaking his body and giving out the very last drop of blood from His body for everyone in the whole world that whoever accepts he or she is a sinner and repent your sins and turn away from sinful ways to God and accept Jesus as Lord and saviour, God will forgive all your sins and fill us with his divine peace, and Jesus will come in our hearts and help us and guide us to lead a victorious Christian life.
What a great love! Is there any greater love than this? Jesus who was living in all Glory equivalent to God himself rather choose to humble himself to the nature of a servant by taking the human likeness and appeared as man and humbled himself by being an obedient sacrifice on the cross of Calvary! God who created everything who was richer than any anything combined became poor so that through his poverty we may become rich! Is there any greater love than this?
‘In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!’ (Philippians 2:5-8 NIV)
‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.’ (2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV).
Therefore my dear readers before it’s too late accept Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour in your life. Repent your sinful ways. Be his child. And spread this good news to many who are perishing not knowing Jesus.
‘Here I am! (Jesus) I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’ (Revelation 3:20 NIV). Let’s open up the doors of our heart to Jesus. Let’s not be blind anymore to accept this saviour before it’s too late. Accept Jesus and He will guide us in our daily lives and lead us to be with Him forever in heaven!
‘And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.’ (1 John 4:16-19 NIV)
‘If you love me, keep my commands.’ (John 14:15 NIV)
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35 NIV)
‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ (1 Corinthians 13:1-13 NIV)
Therefore as the last verse says- ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ Let’s be filled with true Faith, true Hope and of true Love. For everything we depend can change but it’s God and his words that remain forever and these three qualities as they come from God! Since it is given to us through His Love, Love is greater than Faith and Hope. Let’s be filled with his great Love that we may spread the gospel to many who haven’t heard about Jesus and live with great faith in God like Abraham and hope in God as Job and lead a successful Christian life!