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Vibrant Faith, Hope, and Love

My friend James is hospitalized with COVID, his medical history perhaps heightening his susceptibility to the virus. His pain level upon coughing has been a 7 to 9 on a scale of 10; fortunately, this is improving a bit. But to all the medical professionals who tend to him (including caregivers from Thailand, Philippines, Morocco, Nigeria, and, of course, the US), James’ top priority is to honor them for who they are and to affirm them for what they do. “I tell them that, in [my hospital room], you are a person first.” For James has come to realize that, while the staff is there to help him, he also must “be ready when called upon to offer encouragement to [them, even if] through . . . suffering.”

Where does such a heart—this others-first focus—come from? I believe it is the outward overflow of an inner freedom that pours forth in joy when we accept and rest in the fact that God knows us individually, loves us personally, and cleanses us from all our sin. This is “truth that sets [us] free.”1 The apostle James stated it most simply: “We love because [God] first loved us.”2 Such love is not an obligatory burden to bear impossibly in our flesh, but a joyful emancipation to live out fruitfully in the Spirit. It is that for which Paul commended the Thessalonian church: “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.3 Faith, hope and love—spiritual growth and meaningful impact are rooted in these.

Yet if we affirm this triumvirate merely in the abstract, as if nodding academically to tenets of a creed, we miss the point. For vibrant faith, hope, and love are more than conceptual; they are relational. Exhorted the writer of Hebrews, “Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience . . . Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”4 By God’s grace, no matter where we are, even if in a hospital bed, we can “be ready when called upon” to reach others in faith, hope, and love.

Father, draw me close to You today, that You would speak and I would hear. Lead me to where You want me to share the faith, hope, and love that are found in You. In Christ I pray. Amen.

1 John 8:32
2 1 John 4:19
3 1 Thessalonians 1:3
4 Hebrews 10:22-24

4 replies on “Vibrant Faith, Hope, and Love”

Great message Paul! I especially reacted favorably to this passage:

Where does such a heart—this others-first focus—come from? I believe it is the outward overflow of an inner freedom that pours forth in joy when we accept and rest in the fact that God knows us individually, loves us personally, and cleanses us from all our sin. This is “truth that sets [us] free.”1

Great wisdom! Thanks for your consistency in sending these weekly reflections.

Happy New Year!

John

Sent from my iPhone

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Just sounds like kindness and consideration for others that matters most. Love your neighbors applies in most relations no matter how brief.

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