By Pastor Jack Marbida
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.”
God gave Abraham a command and a promise. He asked him to walk blameless before Him and He will make him a father of many nations. God also promised Abraham many things (Genesis 17:15-16) but walking blameless before the Lord was not an easy feat because he underwent a lot of trials.
1. Be faithful - How is your faith? In the past 9 months during this pandemic, what stumbling blocks have been in your way? Has your faith been tested? Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Faith is a surety, something that is there, even if you do not feel like it. God has been there all this time, even during the lockdown, even through all of your loss. No matter what happens, Jesus is with you.
Was Abraham faithful? Hebrews 11:8 says, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.” This is faith - even if you do not know the outcome. Abraham was faithful to the commands of God. But it does not mean that if you have faith, you will not undergo trials of any kind. When you are given problems, try your best to go through it with faith. Genesis 22:1 says, “Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Abraham had testings. So will you. Abraham was faithful. Are you? Be faithful to God and He will be faithful to you.
2. Be hopeful - Genesis 22:5 says, “He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” No matter how much trials you face, remember that God is always beside you so do not lose hope. Romans 4:18 says “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Is there an Isaac that you have to surrender to God? Do not lose hope.
3. Be loving - Why is love the greatest among faith and hope? “Agape love,” unconditional love, is the kind of love that is talked about in 1 Corinthians 13:13. That is the kind of love that God gives to you. Just like Abraham who underwent many testings, your love of God should not waver when you are having a difficult time. And just like Abraham who obeyed even in the midst of a great heartbreak, know that you can overcome anything when God is by your side. Love is love when you do not expect anything in return. This is the kind of love that God asks of you. It is not easy but with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can love without asking for anything in return.
Have you received this kind of love? The love that does not ask for anything in return? If you have not received this kind of love, then you cannot give it either. Only God can give you this kind of love, and He asks that if you have received this kind of love, give it away.