Focus – Surrounded by Change
by Major Anne Pickup –
It’s summer, and change is in the air. Students move to new schools or graduate. Families move to new homes. People start new jobs. Officers change appointments. Change is in the air…but then, change is always in the air! Philosophers tell us the only consistent thing is change. Heraclitus, who lived 500 years before Christ philosophized about change, saying “You cannot step twice into the same river.”
The physical world is in ceaseless change. Whether by entropy, the constant movement toward disorder and chaos, or by evolution, the gradual process of changing into something more complex and sophisticated, the earth is in perpetual flux.
Surrounded by change, the Apostle Paul presented a promise of constancy: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love…” I Corinthians 13:13
This triad embraces the whole of Christian existence as believers live out the life of the Spirit in every succeeding generation. Each quality is focused on God and is displayed in attitudes toward life and people.
Faith– concerns our beliefs, as in “the faith,” influencing how we live. By faith we believe that Scripture was given by inspiration of God and that it is the rule for all belief and behavior. Scripture, which established “the faith” for Christians, is unchanging, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35
Faith also concerns our relationship with God. Faith believes in the reality that God is–God exists, he is who he says he is, and does what he says he will do. Faith’s object is God. God declared he was unchanging, so as life constantly changes, our faith holds firm.
Hope–the object of our hope is God. God has always provided for his children. God has always guided the footsteps of those who placed their faith in him. Through Jesus, God granted forgiveness to every penitent heart and offered the hope of resurrection and eternity in heaven.
Hope is grounded in God’s past activity–this unchanging God has been faithful in the past and will continue to be faithful in the future. Hope liberates the believer from fear and provides strength and grace to cope with trials and suffering. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
Love–“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” I John 1:16 The source of love is an unchanging God whose love established the pattern for Christian living. Love is a disposition of heart, a way of thinking, a way of behaving. Love is not merely emotional, but devotional, shown in commitment and measured by self-giving, practical action and sacrifice. According to Paul, love is the greatest quality which goes on forever.
Surrounded by change, we are challenged to embrace qualities that will remain constant, even into eternity! “But for right now, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.” (I Corinthians 13:13 The Message)