Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT
Love is not a feeling.
The world is confused about the word love. Those who don’t understand it and those who don’t have it try to substitute lesser things to explain love.
Love is action.
“Love is the greatest of all human qualities, and it is an attribute of God himself. Love involves unselfish service to others; to show it gives evidence that you care.” – Life Application Study Bible
This is why James tells us that Faith without works is dead – because He is trying to explain to the deceived that Hope and Faith will manifest Love – it will produce action.
Hope is our focus and attitude and direction being set upon the things of God.
Faith is the foundation and content of God’s message, of His divine instruction for our lives, it is His Word written upon our hearts. It isn’t just about trusting God, even though that is a necessary component. It is about knowing God too. Faith is the tie that binds us to God and to other believers in both unity and purpose.
When faith and hope are in their proper orientation between us and our creator, Lord, and Savior – when our focus is upon Him and we are walking the narrow path of Discipleship, not deceived by the tricks of ththe enemy, we are free to love completely because we understand how God loves.
Love is action.
Love is Christ’s very nature that is alive in us, pouring out onto a world in need of His love, in need of His presence, in need of His redemption.
The Christian walk only begins at salvation, at that point where we find our Hope in Jesus Christ. That moment of Hope in surrendering to Christ is not our crossing the finish line, it is the start of us choosing to run the proper race, it is our eyes being opened to understand and see the narrow path dimly as if through a fog.
Faith is the path itself as we head back to our Father’s house – as we learn and apply His divine instructions in our hearts, as our thoughts and desires and self control are brought more in line with His nature, with His righteousness.
And love is the action. It is not empty words. It is not the hunger of lust. It is not the bubbling feeling of anticipation and butterflies. It is not thetrading and bartering of politeness towards one another through manipulation. Love is the inevitable outward result of a life no longer focused on self, but focused on God and others. It is active and it is alive, it is the very nature of God, alive in us.
Do you know love?
Do you love?
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7 NLT
Do not settle for anything less, friend. Do not settle for religion or lust or anything in this world that falls short of Christ alive in you – that falls short of love.
If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.
John 14:15-17 NLT
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.
John 13:34-35 NLT
Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Matthew 7:15-23 NLT
If Hope, Faith and Love are eternal – aren’t these the very blessings and treasures that we want to store up for eternity? Isn’t it clear that these are the truly valuable blessings that nourish our eternal soul? Isn’t it clear to us the characteristics of the fruit of a good tree?
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22-23 NLT
So let’s be sure that we’ve set our eyes upon the treasure that is eternal and will not rot or rust.
Let’s just not be claimers of the name of Christ, let us be bearers of the Spirit of Christ.
Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.
1 John 4:7-13 NLT