Now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
—1 Corinthians 13:13
It’s hard to know exactly what Paul means when he says love is greater than hope and faith. He just makes the statement and leaves it to us to think it through. It may be that love, in comparison to faith and hope, describes the very heart of God.
God does not need to exercise faith. And he does not need to hope because he already knows the future. But the Bible says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16).
Love is God’s nature. So when a person becomes a Jesus follower, a Christian, they not only receive God’s love; they also share in his divine nature. To the church at Rome Paul wrote, “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5). So whenever you and I love another person, we are displaying the very character of God. We are never more like God than when we love one of his creatures. Because love alone is of God, it is the greatest of all virtues.
We only go around once in life, and that go-around is pretty short. So we need to take some advice: we must devote ourselves to what is eternal. Whatever our particular gifts are, whatever part of his kingdom God is calling us to serve in, the best thing we can do to show our love and gratitude for Jesus is to minister to other people in love.
Father, fill us with your Spirit. Give us love, which binds all other virtues “together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:14). In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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