Describe yourself in one sentence. No, don't keep reading. Actually take a moment to do it. This is important for later on.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:13, "Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love." (NLT)
1 Corinthians 13 is a commonly read passage in the Bible, and this final verse wraps up Paul's teaching on love. According to Paul, faith, hope, and love are the only things that will last forever. Everything else will one day be gone. Faith, hope, and love all have one thing in common: they cannot be seen. Hope is felt, but it is not seen. Faith is the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Love is the magnificent force of God Himself expressed through His creation. God expresses love so naturally within His nature and His character is so perfected by it that He is the perfect source of love. In fact, in 1 John 4:8, John writes, "Anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (NLT) Paul writes that of the things that will last forever, love is the greatest because it is the expression of God to His creation done through His creation when we love others.
That being said, faith, hope, and love are placed in no random grammatical order by Paul. Faith gives way to hope, which gives way to love. Faith is where everything begins. What we have faith in determines how we see the world. If we have faith in the God of sound doctrine, then our faith should be rooted in God's love for us and His forgiveness of our human depravity. This faith allows us to secure a hope for eternal life, which gives us the security and stability to love others unselfishly. If our faith is placed in things of this world, such as our finances or human abilities, our hope is prone to being broken, and our love will never be fully expressed due to instability in our identities.
At the beginning of this blog, what sentence did you say described yourself? What identifies who you are? Is it your occupation, or maybe your appearance or social status? Is your hope vulnerable? Because if your faith is not grounded in God as yur identity, you are holding back a secure hope that allows you to fully manifest God's image in you and in His creation through your love.
Hunter Kallay, author of "Plug in Your Life." He is a Christian leader and speaker.