“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Faith, hope, and love are paramount in my life. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Without hope it is hard to believe God can be trusted to keep His promises (Hebrews 10:23). Without love I will not see beyond my own selfishness. I will just be loud and obtrusive with no sensitivity to the feelings of others (1 Corinthians 13:1). Faith, hope, and love flourish together. They are essential and necessary for each one’s greatest purpose. But one is the greatest, and that is love.
If I have the gift of prophecy and understand God’s higher ways—if I possess all knowledge and have a faith that can move mountains, but don’t love others, I am nothing. If I unselfishly give everything I have to the poor and in my boasting don’t love others, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind. Love is never jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It does not get irritated, and keeps no record of when it is wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice, but rejoices when the truth wins. Love always perseveres and never gives up; it never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance of life (1 Corinthians 13:2-7).
One day prophecy—speaking in unknown languages—special knowledge—and all the gifts that impart His power will become useless. Love outlasts all of these. It endures forever! Right now what I know and understand is partial and incomplete. Prophecy can’t reveal all of His purpose. The knowledge that the spiritual gifts grant is only partial, and don’t reveal His whole picture. The day when He returns to complete the picture is the day these partial things mean nothing. What will remain be will my faith, hope, and love He has perfected in me (1 Corinthians 13:7-10).
When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Spiritually I am still so much a child—not grasping the deeper understanding that He will bring when His time comes. Now I only see things imperfectly—like puzzling reflections in a mirror. I put away my childish understanding and wait for that moment I will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then one day I will know everything completely. I will understand the depths of His love from His perspective and not my own limited one. Faith, hope, and love are the things which will carry me from my partial understanding of His purpose in this world now into the completed revelation of His picture in the next (1 Corinthians 13:11-12). It is His love on Calvary which has sealed the promise. The greatest is love.
Lynn Hampton Lacher