|Vol. 14 No. 8 August 2012||
Mark N. Posey
First Corinthians 13:13 reads, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The three great pursuits of the Christian life are not miracles, power and gifts, but they are faith, hope and love. Since these are so important, we see them emphasized significantly in Scripture (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Galatians 5:5-6; 1 Peter 1:21-22; Colossians 1:4-5; 2 Timothy 1:12-13). On what is your Christian life focused? What more do you really want in life?
Faith Makes Things Possible
The word “faith” is from pistis. Faith is belief and trust; it is believing in the facts of the Gospel and trusting in them to save. Faith and character are intimately related. Faith in the power of obedience to the commandments of God will forge strength of character available to you in times of urgent need. “Substance” (Hebrews 11:1), from hypostasis, means, “a setting or placing under, thing put under, substructure, foundation, undergirding.” It is the same as the rock upon which the “wise man” built his house (Matthew 7:24). By faith, Abraham stood strong (Romans 4:20), Moses led strong (Hebrews 11:24-28), Elijah spoke strong (1 Kings 18:21), Joseph lived strong (Genesis 39:12) and Joshua chose strong (Joshua 24:15). Faith makes all things possible.
Hope Makes Things Bright
The word “hope” is from elpis, which means, “anxious expectation.” Hope is the confident expectation of divine blessing; it is also the fear of offending God’s love and incurring punishment. Hope is singular in nature (“one hope of your calling,” Ephesians 4:4). Also, hope has its reasons (1 Peter 3:15). If you have hope for the future, there will be power to live each day. Think of the song, which says, “When the days are weary; the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares.” The blessing of hope on this side of eternity is that it serves as the “anchor for our soul” (Hebrews 6:19). The stability that hope gives us in this life is characterized by the words “sure and steadfast.” Therefore, hope makes all things bright.
Love Makes Things Easy
The word “love” is from agape, which means, “affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love.” My father always preached: “In truth, unity. In opinion, liberty. In all things, love.” Families will grow stronger when love leads the way. Friendships will blossom when love runs deep. Churches will shine bright when love leavens the whole lump. It has been said: “The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather loved in spite of ourselves.” What is love? It is silence – when your words would hurt. It is patience – when your neighbor’s curt. It is deafness – when a scandal flows. It is thoughtfulness – for other’s woes. It is promptness – when stern duty calls. It is courage – when misfortune falls. “I remember the morning that I first asked the meaning of the word 'love…' Miss Sullivan put her arm gently round me and spelled into my hand, 'I love Helen'” (Helen Keller).
After all else fails, what remains? One day, we will close our eyes and sleep, but when we awake faith will be sight, hope will be reality and love will remain.
Many wonderful people are shown throughout God’s Word. Their victories, their faith and their strengths are made known, but so are their trials, their pain, their weaknesses and sins – those things that plague every human who has ever been. I would love to see through the eyes of each great one, to be able to partake in the deeds that each one has done. However, of all of the characters that in the word I find, the way Peter was is most like me, in my mind. Sometimes it is like through Peter’s eyes I look at life. Just like him, I often cause my own strife, but hopefully from him, I can great lessons know. As I travel life’s paths down here below, I see sometimes through Peter’s eyes of doubt – when he did not understand what it was all about, when he failed to be as strong as he should be. Way too often, that is the picture of me.
I see sometimes through Peter’s eyes of fear, as he followed Jesus to His trial, but not too near. As he was overcome by fear, he denied Christ. How many times have I fought that fear inside? I see sometimes through Peter’s eyes so weak, when he forgot it was after God’s will that he should seek, when he did not stand like he should have for right. Too many times, I am not ready to fight that fight. I see sometimes through Peter’s eyes of faith so strong, that faith that makes him among the greats belong, the faith that would win out for him over time. I hope that I can reach those heights sublime.
I guess the bottom line when through Peter’s eyes I look is to see the Savior revealed to me in God’s Book. While Peter walked with Him as He walked this place, I, through Peter’s eyes, must come to see His face. By faith I must reach my hand to the Savior dear. I must do all I can to draw near to the Lord. Then one day in a heavenly land up above, my eyes will join Peter’s – enjoying the Father’s love.