3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
Paul is excited about the growth of the church in Colossi. Paul celebrating their growth in the Christians virtues, faith, love & hope, mentioned in I Corinthians 13:13. Using the virtues, faith hope and love, Paul creates an equation for spiritual growth:
FAITH + Jesus = LOVE
HOPE + Jesus = LOVE.
We love because of our faith in Jesus. When Jesus becomes our Savior our hearts begin to reprogram to become like His. Jesus is of the same substance as God, who is love, so Jesus is also, love. So faith should produce in us love.
As mentioned before Paul prioritizes love in the famous I Corinthians 13:13: “Faith, Hope and Love the greatest of these is love.” The reason love is the greatest is because love is the only attribute that is eternal. When we die and go to heaven we will not need faith and hope will be realized but love lasts forever. In heaven we will be “in” love forever!
But there’s a problem. Love can be really hard!
C.S. Lewis once said,
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C.S. Lewis (Four Loves)
Have you ever seen, well, any romantic comedy or romance movie? In our romantic literature and media love is based on three things:
Our culture accepts and celebrates these reasons for love.
Another kind of love we see is a love for the sake of JUSTICE.
The Good Lie is one of those movies that shows an incredible act of love that compromises morals. Which is more important? Love or the ethics associate with lying? For the sake of what is right, or just, the movie prioritizes love.
Our culture celebrates these reasons for love so people often anchor their love on these things. These “anchors” are not bad, however can be very fluid. The Bible says,
- Attraction and charm fade (Proverbs 31:30).
- The noble man will fail (Romans 3:23).
- And what who is to say what is just? For centuries humans have been guilty of perverting justice (I Samuel 8:3).
Since we know there is risk involved in love we better secure it to something very strong! In other words, we need a better reason to love. Something less fluid. In this fist chapter of Colossians, Paul celebrates the love of the church in Colossi anchored in eternal hope with Jesus. The maturing Christian loves because they know their love impacts eternity.
…of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.
It’s the most secure reason for love. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, love requires sacrifice and this sometimes results in pain. Anyone who has ever tried to love realized very quickly the sacrifices of love. You give up stuff. You give up time. You give up joys. You give of yourself to love. And when you do this you’re bound to get hurt.
I need to point out that the love Paul is writing about here is not marital love its brotherly love. Paul is celebrating the love the church has for one another. Which is even more risky! People are going to let us down. However, the hurt that can come with love is temporary when you love someone, anyone, for the sake of eternity.
Christians believe everybody lives forever somewhere. The Bible promises us that eternity with Jesus will be incredible. In Heaven “all things are made new” All things. Culture, art, the Rockies, seasons, food and friends. We look forward to an eternity that is far greater than our present. If you have breath you’ve been hurt for loving someone too much but don’t let hurt keep you from loving others again. Love people freely for the sake of eternity. Not because it’s right. Not because they are beautiful. Not because they are kind. Not because they are safe to love. Do it because Christ in you loves them, forever.
Thanks for reading.