We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel. (Colossians 1:3-5)
As Paul wrote to the Christians in the ancient city of Colosse—people he had yet to meet—he started his letter with encouraging words. They weren’t empty encouraging words, because Paul really meant them. Paul saw three things in the Colossians that genuinely made him thankful to God.
The three things Paul saw are familiar to many Christians: faith, hope, and love.
First, Paul was thankful because of their faith in Christ Jesus. They heard the word of the gospel and in response they put their faith in Jesus. They had a real relationship of trusting love in Him. They didn’t trust themselves for either their daily bread or their eternal safety. Their faith was in Jesus, not in idols and not in self.
Next, Paul was thankful because of their love for all the saints, God’s people. Because of God’s work in their life they had a love they didn’t have before. They forgave those who sinned against them and they prayed for those who seemed like their enemies. They helped and served and blessed each other. Their love went beyond the people of God, but it was especially evident among them, the saints.
Finally, Paul was thankful because of the hope they had in heaven. Faith was their beginning of life with God and love was their present. In the future they had every hope in heaven. The idea of hope goes beyond wishful thinking; it is an assured confidence of something that is not yet but certainly will be.
These three—faith, hope, and love—are important to God. He said that those three would abide when all else passed away (1 Corinthians 13:13). Many times in the New Testament these three are collected together (Galatians 5:5-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:3 and 5:8; 2 Timothy 1:12-13; 1 Peter 1:21-22).
I hope you have these three in your life, and it’s even better to think that they could all grow in your. We could all use more faith, more hope, and more love. But it’s one thing to have these great Christian virtues; it’s another thing to show them.
Can anyone see faith in your life?
Can anyone see hope in your life?
Can anyone see love in your life?
Pray that God would not only give you these, but by His grace that they would show and shine brightly to a world that needs faith, hope, and love.
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David’s weekly devotional is also translated into German.