Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

Faith, Hope and Love!

03 December 2023

Faith, Hope and Love spelt out with scrabble letters

I tend to associate Faith, Hope and Love with the well-known verse at the end of 1 Corinthians 13. Paul uses that phrase again in this week’s readings but expands his thoughts on how these qualities actually work together.

 

“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labour prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:3 NIV)

 

Paul picks up that theme of faith, hope and love working together by highlighting the effort it takes to see them genuinely reproduced. Work, labour and endurance are all words that suggest it is not easy to walk God’s way. After all we are expected to live differently from those around us. Living differently always takes effort and understanding as society’s defaults are often so ingrained into our lives.

 

Faith, Hope and Love! Sounds so simple but Paul reflects that the gospel brought real personal challenges to the Thessalonian church. Living counter-culture, holding to Kingdom values creates tension with the world around us. These challenges and persecutions result from the Gospel. Paul goes further to commend the Thessalonian church:

 

  • You became imitators of us (1 Thessalonian 1:6)
  • You became a model to all believers (1 Thessalonian 1:7)
  • Your faith has become known everywhere (1 Thessalonian 1:8)

 

You “became” expresses just how far Paul felt the changes had gone. In fact, Paul comments that it is not just him talking about them ... everyone is. Their Faith, Hope and Love were causing many to rethink their own lives. Their Faith, Hope and Love were being talked about in times of prayer. God himself was being told about them.

 

When we get together with friends, especially those we haven’t seen for a while, we often reminisce. Retelling stories of events we went through together, remembering folks who are missing from our meeting. Successes, failures and everything in between are recounted, especially when those events happened in difficult times. The hero of the moment and their ability to overcome a difficult or funny moment is remembered with great detail.

 

So ... who do we talk about when we get together with our Heavenly Father? How do we talk to Him about other people? What stories do we tell Him about people we remember?

 

Or ... what do other people talk to God about when they remember us? What deeds, love or kindness do they talk to Him about when they think about us? What would cause them to even think to talk to our Heavenly Father about us?

 

Paul writes that he “continually mentions” the Thessalonians to his Heavenly Father in prayer (v2). This is not just going through a prayer list of people to intercede for. This is a group of people that have made an impact on Paul and “become a model to all believers in Macedonia and Achaia” (v7). Their Faith, Hope and Love are being talked about regularly. Not just 15 minutes of fame. This is a lasting story, worth repeating again and again. This is GoChurch! This is what we are working for. Church that works. Faith expressing itself through love.


Photo of Alan Morton

Alan Morton

Director
GoChurch Global