Faith, Hope, and Love (02/20/2013 update)

Faith, Hope, LoveI was doing a little research and found some interesting info on Faith, Hope, and Love.  In the last blog update I raised the question “What is the difference between Faith, Hope, and Love?”  It seems like this question was contemplated quite some time ago by Martin Luther (who lived from 1483 to 1546). I found an article referencing Luther’s teaching on this subject. The summary of this article is as follows.

Essentially Faith is the truth that we hold in our heart and mind. Hope rises in the will, in response to tribulation. Faith anchors us and hope is our guide through despair or tribulation. I thought the statement “By faith we begin, by hope we continue…” is very profound.

So, with this I examine how faith and hope applies to me.

My Faith includes my core beliefs as a Christian. I believe in the holy trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I believe Jesus is the son of God. He became human, suffered, and died on the cross. Jesus paid for our sins by dying for us on the cross.  Jesus conquered death by rising from the dead and ascending into heaven body and spirit. Jesus will one day come again. The foundation of my faith is that I accept Jesus as my personal savior and Lord. He paid for my sins and I will love him eternally. I will follow him all the days of my life. I will live my life trying to be more like him; applying the many lessons he has left for us to my life.  My faith can be summarized in that I know Jesus has a perfect plan for me and His plan will prevail!

Grounded by this faith (and faced with tribulation) I am filled with Hope. My hope is that I will allow the Holy Spirit to guide me and keep me strong; following the path the Lord has laid out for me. My hope is that I will be cured from this cancer. I hope that I will be with my family for many years. I hope that our Father will teach me to Love my family and friends more with each passing day. I hope that my family will grow in their faith. I hope to one day be a grandfather. I hope that I will learn more about the many lessons that Jesus taught us while on earth and have the opportunity to learn from and with other Christians. I hope to grow more open minded, accepting of other’s beliefs and avoiding judgment of others.

Why is Love the greatest of these?

I found another article by theologian Mark D. Roberts that seemed to do a great job answering this question. As this article points out, scripture teaches us that God is Love (1 John 4:8). Scripture never says that God is faith or hope.  Another point made in this article is that when find ourselves face-to-face with our God in heaven faith and hope will no longer be as important as Love.  In the presence of God we will know him and our hopes will all be fulfilled.  Love will be everlasting and therefore is the greatest of these.

And after this analysis I recall lyrics from one of the songs I would sing as a child…

“God is Love, and he who abides in Love, abides in God, and God in him”

God bless you and keep you forever!


6 Comments on “Faith, Hope, and Love (02/20/2013 update)”

  1. Kathleen g says:

    Thank you Phil for your insights – good analysis and inspiring to me. I too have faith that we travel a path set for us by Gods plan for us. I have hope that you will beat this crazy cancer and that the advancements in modern medicine will be the catalyst to get you there – that and the Grace of God. And I have love in my heart for you as my dear friend through thick and thin! Love for the best gift you ever gave me..the honor of being Sarah’s godmother. Love for your family for their support of you. Hang tough marathon man! One step at a time! xoxo

  2. Little Brother, Geo says:

    Ok, still dog sitting at Rick’s, I did send what God has taught me about faith, hope and love. I wrote a song about it a long time ago; want to hear it…. (ha ha just remembering a SNL skit.)
    I did write a song and the pertinent lyric is:

    “…faith will take you places, that knowledge just can’t go
    I didn’t know, if I could play this guitar, but my faith it told me so…”

    Every great discovery in science started with a hope, and then action based on that hope, action believing they would discover something not yet known:

    “I believe it’s true, and I hope you believe it too,
    faith is the key, to ev-ery-thing, we do,
    and faith is the door, to that, heavenly, world beyond,
    I hope that you, learn,
    to put, your faith, in God…”

    I’m sure I played that song for you once, a few years back.

  3. Colette Wilkey-DeRidder says:

    I’ve been thinking about the faith, hope and love question.
    Faith to me is a mental strength. It keeps your mind ‘in the game’ and helps keep you on a path to accomplishing a goal, or working on a relationship.
    Hope encourages me, Makes me feel like I can find a way to change things, improve things. Keeps me be creative and think outside the box. Let’s me dream
    The greatest for me is certainly Love. Love is the ‘X’ factor. Love has a strength that is impossible to describe. It is pure and intense, soft and comforting. It can transform to anything you need, or need to give. It changes you for giving and receiving it. I feel true, pure love brings out our inner super hero.
    On a particularly tough day, my son Nic, 4 at the time, looked at me, pulled me down to his face,cupped my cheeks in his little hands and said “I love you mommy” Instantly, everything was better, I felt things would be ok and knew that just feeling that kind of love changed my attitude, my disposition and me.That is the ‘X’ factor!!

    • Phil says:

      Colette, Mary, George, Tim,

      Thank you for sharing your thinking on this.

      I still feel like I have more to learn about these powerful forces and how they can work together to make us better people and better Christians.

      My brother George sent me an email with a very similar perspective to Colette’s.

      And my sister Mary added that “Love is all about action” and how action speaks volumes about faith, hope, and other things.

      Tim shared a similar perspective where faith is our beliefs, hope is about thinking focused on the future, and Love is about sacrifice.

      I really appreciate all this reflection. And I’m feeling that these are all excellent perspectives and they help me to appreciate this as a key lesson to learn.

      Surely they have a lot to do with who we are as people, Christians, and Citizens. And as we reflect on these as forces that shape us into who we are we will do a better job of leveraging these forces.

      And my prayer tonight is…

      Dearest Jesus, Thank You for bringing these people into my life. They are helping me to learn the lessons that you have given us in your words. And we know God’s will is revealed through your word.

      And I ask that you guide us to leverage these forces of Faith, Hope, and Love in your honor, so that we may be better Christians. And we may serve others in your name. And most importantly so we will Love more like you.

      This I ask in the name of Jesus.


      • Phil says:

        I finished this reply and flipped over to a reading plan in the YouVersion app and read the following. Surely, God is already answering my prayer.

        Showing Faith:

        My brothers and sisters, what good is it if people say they have faith but do nothing to show it? Claiming to have faith can’t save anyone, can it? Imagine a brother or sister who is naked and never has enough food to eat. What if one of you said, “Go in peace! Stay warm! Have a nice meal!”? What good is it if you don’t actually give them what their body needs? In the same way, faith is dead when it doesn’t result in faithful activity. Someone might claim, “You have faith and I have action.” But how can I see your faith apart from your actions? Instead, I’ll show you my faith by putting it into practice in faithful action. It’s good that you believe that God is one. Ha! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble with fear. Are you so slow? Do you need to be shown that faith without actions has no value at all? What about Abraham, our father? Wasn’t he shown to be righteous through his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? See, his faith was at work along with his actions. In fact, his faith was made complete by his faithful actions. So the scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and God regarded him as righteous . What is more, Abraham was called God’s friend. So you see that a person is shown to be righteous through faithful actions and not through faith alone. In the same way, wasn’t Rahab the prostitute shown to be righteous when she received the messengers as her guests and then sent them on by another road? As the lifeless body is dead, so faith without actions is dead. (James 2:14-26 CEB)

  4. Phil says:

    Reblogged this on Phil's Blog and commented:

    All, I just re-read this blog and the comments (at thencouragement of a friend). Br far this blog and comments is the most interesting of all.
    In my 4/26/13 update I talk about three other smaller rumors that may or may not have been prestent in my liver… And the bottom line is that I ended up having a successful liver resection after having been declared inoperable. Modern medicine miracle? Or just plain miracle? Well I believe that our Lord is at work. And I THANK YOU all for the countless prayers you have petitioned on my behalf.

    Day two of this final treatment 12 of 12 is going good. Thank you Lord for another day on this beautiful Earth.

    God be with you all on this beautiful Friday.


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