But now faith, hope, love, abide these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13-14:1a
God is a giver! He loves to give good gifts to His children. There are three evident, distinct, and supernatural gifts that God gives to those who know and love Him––faith, hope, and love. These three gifts are operating continually and function as the foundation for all the other grace gifts bestowed in the body of Christ. That’s what Paul meant by “abide these three.” These outstanding qualities distinguish believers from everyone else; and Paul says that the greatest of these three gifts is agape––a broad term in the Greek that encompasses such virtues as love, generosity, kindly concern, and devotion.
Why does Paul say that love is the greatest? Don’t you think it’s because love is the expression of God’s very nature––like His DNA? Love defines God and should also be the Jesus follower’s primary identifier. As Jesus said in Matthew 7:16, “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?” So, when God plants His DNA in the spirit of a person, eventually His life will sprout and become evident in that person. What does God’s DNA look like? When the hope of the gospel is applied by the Holy Spirit to the heart, it produces faith, which works through love, resulting in hope. This clearly is what Paul wrote to the Colossians:
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; (Colossians 1:3-6)
Since love is the greatest gift residing in your soul, pursue it! Chase after it. Value it above all other gifts. If you’ll be single-minded, intentional, and zealous about living to love with Jesus, God will fill you with His hope. When God’s love is consistently evident in your life, according to His Word, you are displaying His fruit, and that means you know and love Him. That is eternal life! Rejoice! Praise His name! I hope you’ll thank Him for giving you eternal life and displaying His grace in your life for His glory. This month, may God fill you with a deep desire to pursue living to love with Jesus. What an adventure!