I had another one of those “Oh, WOW!” moments the other night as Piper and I were listening to a long-time Christian ministry on TV. It was a relaxed setting where the couple was sitting outside in garden chairs in front of their old prayer cabin somewhere I believe in Arkansas. The husband was talking about doing something in love when he paused in thought for a moment and then without missing a beat, they rather extemporaneously both clarified his thoughts declaring the action as “a faith-filled love!”
Well, that surely caught my attention and I immediately began to recall I John 4:18 where the Apostle of love taught about “faith which worketh by love” (KJV) and I wondered if you could actually turn around “faith” and “love” in that statement and still have the truth. I don’t think that I had ever really considered the work of “faith” in a Christian’s actions of “love.” Have you?
I thought that if that was true then it would explain a lot of things! I mean I have had different people tell me that they “love” me or my family but yet something just didn’t feel right about the comment. It is like an oft-times quoted saying of the man of God who started the Bible College that I attended who in describing a similar situation would say it felt like one who “takes a bath with their socks on!”
So, the next day I began a search through the Bible looking up incidents that discuss any interaction between “faith” and “love.” What I discovered was a multitude of scriptures that define the close working relationship between those two fruits of the spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. Ephesians 1:15 associates our faith in the Lord Jesus with our ability to love the brethren when Paul said that he “heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints.” (KJV) I Thessalonians talks about “putting on the breastplate of faith and love…” (KJV)
Then there’s one of my most-often-go-to Biblical prayers found in Ephesians 3:17 where Paul prayed for us declaring “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,” (ESV) (And the list goes on and on – SEE: Colossians 1:4, I Thessalonians 1:3, and Ephesians 6:23 for starters…)
After looking up a large number of verses that definitely put “faith” and “love” together as a working team, I suddenly felt a little silly for it dawned on me that the writer of Hebrews in chapter 11 verse six made it rather believable when he (or she?) wrote that “without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (KJV) I mean think about it for a moment… acts of Christian love please the Father and that scripture declares that we can’t please Him without faith! So… it only makes sense that actions of love have to be connected with and energized or empowered by our faith!
But that brings up another whole discussion on the Biblical measure of faith or in our case…LOVE… for James taught “that faith without works is dead.” (James 2:20, 23 KJV). Can Christians really talk about “love” without backing their words with actions of “faith?” Hummmm… We’ll tackle that subject next time! But for now, I would encourage you to study out some of the verses I listed and think about it the next time you tell someone that you “love” them.
Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I really expecting my words of “love” to be truthful and backed with faith?”