At the end of the famous love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 Paul tells us, “faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” But, why is love the greatest?
All three of these are wonderful qualities and attributes to maintain in our lives, but let’s take a moment to breakdown all three.
A good friend of mine once said,
Hope is the bedrock for the future things God wants to do, not only in our lives, but in the lives of those around us as well. Without hope it is almost impossible to push through difficulties, to pursue higher callings, or to even truly live.
Why do we go on living for another day? It’s because we have hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope that we can do something more. Sometimes it’s only a slight amount, but hope is what drives us on.
So, why is love still greater?
The author of Hebrews tells us in chapter 11 verse 1,
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Faith is the very thing that solidifies our hope for what God is doing and going to do. We can have all the faith in the world, but in reality it means nothing. If we have faith to move mountains, but don’t have love, our faith is meaningless. Jesus never told us to have more faith, rather he really wanted us to have deeper faith. Even with deeper faith, love is still a trump card.
So, why is love greater?
Why Is Love The Greatest?
Okay, let’s answer it. While faith and hope are great and even necessary in our walk with the Lord, when we look at faith and hope, they are both personal and internal qualities. No one else can experience your faith or your hope.
In all honesty, you can fake hope and faith. You can talk a big game. Trust me, I’ve been there.
I’m sure we’ve all put on the fake smile and pretended that everything was great, that we had hope for the future. When in reality our world was crashing down around us.
No one else? Just me? Okay then…
You see you can’t fake love. You can try and talk a big game, but the author of Hebrews tells us that when we do we “become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.”
While faith and hope are internal qualities, love is an external and tangible quality that others experience. It is the fruit of the Spirit of Christ’s life within us that is experienced by those we come into contact with.
The body of Christ is about community, not self. So when we share and express love to others we strengthen and edify the community. We strengthen the body of Christ.
It goes beyond the body of Christ though. Love is how the world will know we are disciples of Jesus (John 13:35).
It’s not that it is in any way expressed through our own ability or power, but God is love (1 John 4:8), and it is His life living through us. This, is living by Christ.
As you go through your day and your week, don’t ask for more faith, or even deeper faith. Don’t pray for more hope. Pray for ways to love. Pray for the Father to show you how to love like He would. Pray that He would love the world through you.
Change someone’s day. Change someone’s life. Show them love, for it is the greatest of these.