Sounds great, but what does it mean?
"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people— the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you. In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace." - Colossians 1:3-6 NIV I read a story the other day in which a college student went to his bank to withdraw money. After he had given his information to the teller she responded, "You have an outstanding balance." to which the student responded, in all sincerity, "Thanks for the compliment." In life meaning matters. Without meaning we become the butt of a joke at best or at worst we miss the boat entirely. As Christians this happens to us all the time when reading scripture. We will read something in the Bible, but miss its understanding which leaves us confused or sadly faking it until we make it. Take for example 1 Corinthians 13:13 "But now faith, hope and love abide these three, but the greatest of these is love." This of course sounds great but what does it mean? What kind of faith? What expression of love? What is the object of our hope? As Paul greets the Colossians with this letter he explains these three virtues in more detail and because of the detail we begin to understand their greater meaning. Paul declares that our faith has an object, Jesus Christ, and implies that it produces work. He writes that our identifying love is for God's people. And finally, that both faith and love are the products of hope, and that hope is what sprang up upon hearing the gospel of God's Kingdom. One really great thing about scripture is that the more you study it, what sounded great at the beginning, sounds even greater once you fully understand it. Question to consider: In what ways have the gospel cultivated hope in your heart? And how has it begun to produce love and faith?