We are taught in Scripture that the Christian life is a life of victory. Paul tells us that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). John encourages us by with the words of assurance that “everyone who is a child of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world—our faith” (I John 5:4). Our faith is more than what we believe, it’s our very essence. Our faith is what moves us, what spurns us, what challenges us, and what sustains us. It no wonder that the Hebrew writer says that t is “impossible to please” God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). Since James teaches us in James 2:14-26 that “faith without works is dead” we need to understand how our faith works. What is it inside of us that compels us to follow God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength? One simple word: L-O-V-E. That is what the Law says in Deuteronomy 6:5, the poet says in Psalm 31:23, the preacher says in Proverbs 6:6, the prophet says in Micah 6:8, and what our Lord says in Matthew 22:37. Jesus will even say that we need to love our neighbor and love ourselves. These things are all signs of God working in my life. They are evidence of a changed life... a life that is no longer living in the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
In I Corinthians 13:8 the apostle Paul says that "Love never fails." That emphatic point carries a weight of truth. In this context it is even more amazing! Paul shows that everything else fails. Speaking in tongues would end. Miracles will cease. The only three things that matter are faith, hope, and love (v.13). So when he shares this list of things to consider about love (vs.4-7), he is telling us that these are the qualities that must pass through us if we hope to continue sharing the gospel message from one generation to the next. You and I cannot make the dead rise again with a single word from our mouth. You and I cannot take the gospel into foreign lands without first learning the language. You and I are not blessed with infinite wisdom and miraculous power of the Holy Spirit. You and I cannot heal cancer and A.I.D.S. and other diseases by the touch of our hand. But what we have is far greater, and will last far longer, than any spiritual gift ever given to apostles in the first century. What we possess today will increase our faith, and establish our hope, and solidify our Christian walk. It is L-O-V-E! We can know love. We can show love. We can prove love.
Love is what saves us! In the end God will not look at what we have done or what we have accumulated. He will reward us based on our love for Him. If love Him then we keep His commandments. Our faith is just the beginning of a wonderful Christian journey. That leads us to trusting God and obeying God through our faith. Love inspires people. Love changes people. Love causes people to think. God is the one that can change us to become more loving, more welcoming, more friendly, more focused and more Christ-like. Great things will happen when we surrender to the Spirit, are guided by the Word, and resist the evil one. The love of God will never fail us. We can be victorious.
Young couples that are in love may do some crazy things to show their love to each other. This Valentine's Day I saw young people buying gifts, sending letters, writing songs, making banners, hanging up billboards, purchasing candy, etc. If we really have LOVE, it ought to cause us to get a little crazy from time to time. Whether we are young or old! We should go out of our way to show love. Jesus did. And people probably thought he was crazy. He put on flesh (Crazy). He walked with the poor (Crazy). He slept on the floor (Crazy). He refused royalty or titles (Crazy). He chose not to say a word at His trial to defend his innocence (Crazy). And He carried his own cross to be crucified on a hill between two criminals (Crazy). All of this was for people that didn’t deserve it (Crazy). That’s just crazy isn’t it? It is called "Crazy Love." Jesus did all of those things and more because He loves you!
In most of his writings, Paul was dealing with legalists questioning what we could do to repay Him? Paul’s answer. Nothing. You can’t repay Him. But you can share His story and your story with other people that need to be saved! You can be an example like Jesus to others in love. Remember what Paul said in I Corinthians 13:1-3 when he tells us that all the faith in the world cannot save us. He reminds us that when it comes to faith there is a love connection. You can’t have real, living, active faith without love! Love saves. Love obeys. Love works. Love builds. Love grows. Love hopes. Love inspires. Love... never... fails.
Do you have faith in God? Do you have hope of eternal life? Do you have genuine Christian love? Are you confident in your Christian walk? Look to Jesus and you will see L-O-V-E. His love never fails. Have a great week!
You are loved.
Dr. Ray Reynolds