But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God [faith], hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.
1 Corinthians 13:13 & 14:1 (MSG)
The following conversation took place after discussion of the N.T. Wright book, Surprised By Scripture in a Sunday morning study. Out of that book sprung the conversation about 1 Corinthians 13, and what it means to have faith, hold onto hope, and display love.
This a continuation of the “Notes Between Neighbors” series where I was able to share my faith as I answered questions from my neighbor, Daniel. If you missed the 2 previous blogs in this series, you can find them here.
Faith, Hope, & Love
From: Dee – To: Daniel – Sent: Mon, May 25, 2015 11:08 AM
Here are a couple of other ideas from [the last chapter] that I found important.
- Jesus is the beginning of the restoration of God’s creation – the unification of heaven (spiritual realm) and earth (tangible realm that we live in)
- Believers are instrumental in this. We are his “priests”, meaning we are tasked with sharing, teaching, and living as examples of what God intends.
- NT Wright says that belief is demonstrated in love. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 about love. He ends this passage talking about faith, hope and love. He says that the greatest is love. We talked about this quite a bit.
Here’s my take:
- Faith is making a decision that something is true through a combination of head and heart knowledge. It sets the foundation for our lives and is a basis for making the choices we make.
- Hope is a way of viewing the future because of that faith. It is important because it helps us endure the hardship of this world because we believe that there is a purpose, a plan, and a positive eventuality that is bigger than what we go through in our present lives.
- Both faith and hope are internal. They are based in what we think and feel. That alone is not enough for God. We can say we think / feel anything we want to, but if our behavior does not match it, then, really, they [the words] are meaningless.
- Love is action. It is more than a feeling. Love is what is required of believers. We must act on what we believe and demonstrate it by showing love to others. That love is what transforms other people and makes them want to know more about Christ. We are called to be different and to love where others might think love does not make sense. Like the Vietnamese refugees being sponsored by the church (story that Denise told) when the church had no personal relationship or connection to them at all.
The ideas were not that complex. However, the writing and discussion around them does sometimes make it hard to follow.
From: Daniel – To: Dee – Sent: Mon, May 25, 2015 11:55 AM
I read 1Corinthians 13. I understand the first part but verse 8 and beyond puzzles me. I think I kind of understand about faith, hope and love in the context of Christianity. I especially see “love” because I think it is the same love that you are showing/giving me…, however I think it is that love that I am lacking in my faith… To tell you a truth, I don’t think I know what I am doing.
From: Dee – To: Daniel – Sent: Mon, May 25, 2015 8:59 PM
Hi friend – […]
Here are a few more thoughts for you:
1 Corinthians 13 – parts you said you don’t get. My take on these verses.
- Love never fails. – Love is everlasting and always good. It can endure even past the relationship or life of the person giving it.
- But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. – Prophecy, speaking in tongues and knowledge are temporary. These were highly valued traits (and still are) but they are not as important as love.
- For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. There are human limitations to our knowledge and vision of the future. But someday, when we are made complete (becoming the person God intended us to be) we will understand more fully.
- 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. There is a process involved in becoming complete (as above). That process is like growing from childhood to manhood.
- 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. – We only know part of what God’s love means and only see a portion of God’s plan. However, there will come a time that when we will know God fully, just like he knows us fully already.
I don’t think you lack love Daniel. I see it in you. However, you may not have the kind of love that is shown in these verses or that NT Wright is talking about. But, that kind of love comes from faith and hope in the promise fulfilled through Jesus. It comes from a personal decision / relationship to accept Christ. I don’t think it is reasonable for you to expect yourself to have that kind of love without taking that step.
I think it is good that you can say you don’t know what you are doing. Gaining God means admitting that we can’t do all of this by ourselves. If we could do it by ourselves we would not need Jesus. Maybe your willingness to vocalize that means you are taking a step closer to leaning on God.
From: Daniel – To: Dee – Sent: Tues, May 26, 2015 10:29 am
Dee, it seems that my journey is going through some bumpy roads. This is not to say I am discouraged or wanting to abort my search. However the doubts, the questions and the indecisions rear their ugly heads and make me stumble.
Our recent discussion about love is opening a new door for me. On a surface love seems like an easy topic but beneath the surface apparently is more substance.
Previously I thought there were 2 or maybe 3 types of love. One type is – love that I have for a person like you. A brotherly love. Another is “in love” which adds another layer and is a deeper love that often leads to more serious relationship including a marriage. At one point I was “in love” with Christy which led to our marriage. I suppose the 3rd type of love is more superficial like I love chocolate, football or a coffee in the morning.
The new type of love (for me anyway), as in faith, hope and love is another added layer of love that I am learning about. I think this type of “love” not only has beauty like other loves but also a deeper spiritual layer.
Dee, for a first time since we started reading/study the Bible together I have used a cross-reference technique. 1Corinthian 13 was mentioned in NT Wright’s book. As I struggled to understand his writing, I decided to read (actually you provided the link) Paul’s writing on “love”. I had to ask for your help for clarification of Paul’s writing and I also read from the NLT Bible for different interpretation. I wish I could say I had an “Aha” moment or the light is shining brightly over my head from these readings. Nonetheless, the light is flickering and it is helping to illuminate the road I am traveling a little brighter.
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