Hope Faith & Hope: Building to Love

By Michelle Williams

Right about the time I moved into my first apartment is when I became totally preoccupied with food. I wanted to know how to make my own instead of always relying on pre-packaged, pre-seasoned and pre-processed meals. The last 15 years of my life learning about food has been more intensive than my college education.

As immersed as I was, I came across a lot of advice regarding what to eat and how to eat it. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about food, and my response to navigating what was right for me was to look to the Bible for food inspiration. It doesn’t take long to start noticing mentions of food everywhere you look. But right now, I want to talk about The Last Supper and what Jesus served his disciples that night.

We know that the food that evening included bread and wine, but more important is the spiritual meal of The Last Supper. The disciples had been filled with faith and had welcomed the hope—faith and hope compelled them to follow Jesus. Faith and hope are the first two courses received in the spiritual meal of following Christ. And the main course? The main course is Love.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. (John 13:34)

That’s the meal plan of the Holy Spirit. Faith leads to hope, and hope builds to love. Through faith, we learn to trust in the hope. Hope then provides the rest and relief we need, allowing us to learn to love. And love transforms us into a conduit of God’s salvation. The Holy Spirit is in each of us and will always guide us towards love—just as Jesus’ teachings did. We’ve been offered the Holy Spirit, served up on a silver platter. Yet we’ve been granted the free will to use it or refuse it.

King Herod is a clear example of one who refused the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was in him, otherwise he wouldn’t initially have kept his master plan in secrecy. He intrinsically knew the wickedness of his plot to eliminate the baby Jesus, and lied about his true motivation to find him. He tried to hide from the Holy Spirit.

Saul, later known as Paul, instead used the Holy Spirit. Initially intent on wiping Christians from the face of the Earth, he transformed into a great leader of the movement through the Holy Spirit. His words were clear: “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) Paul found his sustenance in the Holy Spirit’s meal plan.

Herod had starved himself of the Holy Spirit and set out to supplement his hunger through power. He was so infatuated by his position of influence that he massacred a multitude of innocent children and even members of his own family—all because he feared they posed a potential threat to his precious power.

Herod is indeed an extreme example of the ways in which people try to feed their own spiritual needs. Everyday people seek artificial remedies for their deprivation through power, money, material possessions and false favor, to name a few. But acquiring them is a painstaking, stressful and miserable process. Can you imagine how exhausting Herod’s life of worrying and plotting and all matter of desperate measures would have been? Had he dined with the Holy Spirit, he could have been freed from so much pressure. And Jesus would have been glad to have him at the table. God’s plan is to get us all to that table.

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