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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Faith, Hope, & Love

"Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness." (H. Jackson Brown, Jr)  If we all harnessed these three, applying each of these without wavering, we'd really become a powerhouse to contend with, united in meaningful purpose!  Brown also said, "Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you."  Now, there's food for thought!  To live in such a way our children seek us out as the example by which they wish to pattern their behavior is indeed an honor.  Many kids these days emulate the behaviors they see on TV, in the lives of sports stars, or some imaginary "hero" of legendary proportions portrayed on the big screen. I wonder how different our society might just be if we gave them a different "pattern" by which they began to lay out the actions and course of their lives?

For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:12-13 VOICE)


Three virtues which are considered paramount in our lives:  Faith, Hope, and Love. In terms of God's "big three", these are the ones which really make the difference in how it is we will deal with others and how we will treat ourselves!  You see, when we begin to place our faith (trust) in someone other than ourselves or our own abilities, God is free to begin to work through our lives to channel the use of those talents for his glory.  At first, this may not seem like a big deal, but the more we anchor our trust in God and him alone, the more it changes what it is we begin to hope for in life.  Our priorities begin to shift and we begin to focus less on what it is we get out of life toward what it is we can put into life.  This truly begins to speak volumes to those who are constantly surrounded by those who are always taking in this world.

Faith (trust) placed "rightly" becomes an anchor for our souls, stabilizing our thoughts, beginning to calm emotions easily set on edge by the pressures of this world.  When we begin to feel security because of the solid foundation we are being anchored to, we can begin to hope in ways we never thought possible before.  You see, hope is more than desire because desire is the idea that the prospect of what we are thinking has possibility and probability of occurring.  Possibility may be within our control or that of another - being in the right place at the right time kind of thing is probability.  Now, I could go through life constantly relying on being in the right place at the right time, but that hasn't proven to be too reliable in my experience.  I'd rather anchor on the rock and count on him to work it out as he sees fit!

Love is an outflow of knowing we are anchored on an immovable rock and the hope of all things being possible when he is the one in control of our lives.  It is the evidence of our faith and the enthusiasm behind our hope.  These three go hand-in-hand.  We cannot be truly loving individuals when our trust is in what we can do for ourselves - the things we can calculate a way into materializing in our lives by our own effort, power, or creativity.  I can create a bed of leaves to lay upon in the outdoors if I need to make a shelter for the night, but I'd much rather have had Simmons, Tuft and Needle, or even Tempurapedic design the mattress upon which I laid my head!  They know what they are doing and how my body needs to be supported.  At best, I can "make do" with my own creativity, but when you stop to think about it - it was someone else's "creativity" which made the leaves for me to gather in the first place!

Love allows another to do for us the things we cannot fully do for ourselves - because as I have said before, we only see one part of ourselves when looking into the mirror!  We only "see part of the big picture", as Paul so aptly points out in our passage today.  It begins with us accepting the finished work of Christ on our behalf (something we could never do for ourselves), leads to us relying less on self and more on him (the place we begin to transition control and hope in what he can do rather than what we might be able to do), and eventually begins to transform our lives into examples of his love, grace, and beauty (because transformation is possible when the right one is in control).  Just sayin!