Then, Later, Or Now?

I often sense that I stumble through life almost completely oblivious to the incredible story taking place around me. When I occasionally manage to trip over something miraculous, I feel a bit like a blind squirrel finding a nut.

I don’t believe those are accidents (No Coincidences) but I can’t help wondering how frequently God shakes His head in disbelief as I miss yet another opportunity He’s carefully set up for me.

Last time I told you about the scripture passage Becky read to me. It was exactly what I needed to hear. In a rare moment of clarity I reread the entire passage and saw what might be a bigger connection to something I’ve been pondering. Here’s the passage (emphasis mine):

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25

Notice the highlighted words: faith, hope, love? The pattern reminded me of 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

But the Hebrews passage specifically seems to reference a continuum that extends the ideas in Faith, Hope, And Courage.

Faith looks back and provides a solid foundation of assurance based on God’s faithfulness. Hope allows us to rest on that foundation and look forward in confidence. And love involves relationships, helping and encouraging one another—in the present.

It’s an interesting interaction. Faith makes sense of a chaotic past and lets us confidently anticipate an otherwise uncertain future. Together, faith and hope permit us to live in the present as God intended—in loving relationship with God, others, and self.

Here’s what I think that says to me. If we’re trying to follow Jesus, we can’t do that in the past or the future. So faith and hope are necessary, but they’re not at the core.

We follow Jesus in the present, which means it’s about love.

More tomorrow. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Copyright 2008-2012 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of: Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site www.relentlessgrace.com

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