Discouragement can easily settle into the bones when we are not thriving in some way. The church rests upon three indispensable elements that must be present for every believer in Jesus to thrive as citizens of God’s kingdom: faith, hope, and love. “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith… Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering… And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” Just as a three-legged stool cannot stand on only one or even two legs, so our personal and corporate Christianity will not stand unless faith, hope, and love all exist side by side.
Furthermore, these three vital elements must be based in the person and work of Jesus Christ, and not within our own soul’s fortifications, or lack thereof. The basis of our confidence in living the Christian life is through the blood of Jesus, that he has taken care of the sin issue once for all through his death. This is all activated in a practical way through meeting together and encouraging one another as the Body of Christ.
The irony of the Christian life is that in losing our lives we find them; in being last we become first; in emptying ourselves as servants of others we are full. It is people who attempt gain for themselves that miss faith in Christ; who always have to be right that ultimately lose hope; who seek to be served and thus never know real love. Let us develop and maintain habits of faith, hope, and love – accessed fully through participation in meeting together as believers in Jesus.
Gracious Lord Jesus, you have gone before us and secured deliverance from sin through your death on a cross. My trust is in you, my hope is in your promised return, and my love belongs to you and your people, now and forever. Amen.