And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
My son has been through hell and back over the last few years. How and why is his story to tell, but on the eve of the next season of his life, I asked him what has changed to bring him back into relationship with Jesus. His words blew me away and touched this mama’s heart as only a redeemed child can. Here’s what he said has changed:
- I know God loves me
- I know I can’t be perfect
- I ask God for what he wants instead of what I want
There was a season when the inverse was true, when he didn’t know God loved him, when he thought he had to be perfect before he could receive God’s love, and when he succumbed to despair because he prayed for good things that didn’t happen.
Pretty much sums up the struggles most of us face, don’t you think?
I dug a little deeper to learn how these changes had been wrought in his life, and with his permission am sharing his responses because they resonate with all of us on some level.
1. I know God loves me…because God’s people love me and accept me for who I am. I see people in the church body loving God, loving each other, and loving me. My pastor tells me each week how much God loves me and demonstrates it by his own caring for me. I’ve met people who are strong in their faith who mentor me, are there for me, and who care for me.
By this everyone will know
that you are my disciples,
if you love one another.
2. I know I don’t have to be perfect or fix myself before I go to God – because he’s the one who will change me. I see now that my flesh and the devil want to harm me, but God cares about me and wants to heal me. I see a church body full of God’s people who are genuine and aren’t afraid to be real. They share their struggles and don’t hide behind a mask of perfection.
Confess your sins to each other
and pray for each other
so you may be healed.
3. I ask God for what he wants instead of what I want – because the things I want most in my life are what God wants most for me…to become the person he wants me to be, to be a reflection of God’s love to others, and to be a person after God’s own heart. At work, I’ve realized I couldn’t perform my job the way I’m supposed to, and needed attributes only God could give me. I’ve asked him to shine his light on the things in my life he doesn’t want there and asked him to change them…and he’s been doing that.
Hope does not disappoint,
because the love of God
has been poured into our hearts.
Therefore we do not lose heart…
because we are being renewed day by day.
(2 Corinthians 4:16)
3 things remain:
Faith – In the sacrifice of Jesus to cleanse us so we don’t have to be perfect
Hope – In the promises and good purposes God has for us
Love – undeserved and unconditional, because Jesus loved us at our worst and claimed us as his own.
And the greatest of these is love.
It made a difference in my son’s life,
and it can make a difference in your life.
It is…the greatest commandment
the greatest obedience
the greatest relationship
the greatest gift ever received
the greatest gift we can ever bestow upon another
Oh how He loves you, my friend.
Will you freely receive and give this greatest of gifts?