So is it any wonder that those who do not think Christ is the only way to God are not impressed when they hear his followers emphasize faith, hope, and love?
Could it even be that some of us too have been inclined to accept these virtues in their common form without watching for the kind of faith, hope, and love that are directly related to life in the Son of God?
See if the following thoughts help to mark the kind of faith, hope, and love that are far more life-changing than they are common.
The kind of faith that pleases God isn’t just believing that the God who created the world can do anything he wants to do. As important as it is to have that confidence, it is even more reassuring to believe that he is able and willing to do what he said he would do (Rom 4:20-22). Even while struggling to believe in the One who gives us more reason to trust him than anyone else in the world, we have a chance to be like the man who said, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Faith that is distinguished by its relationship to the Son of God can be one of the most wonderful gifts we’ve ever received. Small and weak as it may seem, such faith clings to reason at its best even in the worst of times.
Hope that is more than wishful thinking is a close friend of this kind of faith. As faith looks back to what God has said and done to give us reason to trust him, hope looks forward with expectation in a God who is greater than our groans (Rom 5:1-5; 8:20-25). When faith says, “If God was able to make something out of nothing, speak light into darkness, and bring order out of chaos…”, hope completes the thought by adding, “Then we have every reason to believe that “As our days are, so shall our strength be…”; and that in God’s time there will be days of celebration like we’ve never imagined…
The kind of love that honors Christ thrives in this kind of company. Who is in a better position to show a love that is not rooted in self-centered desire– but in a willingness to sacrifice for the good of others–than those who see faith and hope personified in the God who lives and dies for us? Who is in a better position to empathize with those who envy, covet, and consume themselves in jealousy (for who knows better the cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) while living on the other side of the great day of our own resurrection (back in faith… forward in hope)…
Doesn’t it make sense then to believe that wisdom will help us make faith, hope, and love the goals of this present moment? In this regard, I was interested recently to read what Oswald Chambers said in My Utmost for His Highest. In the July 28th reading his comments focus on the importance of seeing the difference between our goals and God’s. If he’s right, is it possible that watching for the right kind of faith, hope, and love might be far more important and life-changing than we might have thought.