Author: Ron Graham

Faith Hope Love

The Arrows of God
—Target, energy, penetration

The prophecy about Jesus Christ in Psalm 45:3-6, contains the statement, "Your arrows are sharp". What are the "arrows" of God? Perhaps there are many answers to that question, but these words spring readily to mind: "Now abide faith, hope, love, these three —but the greatest of these is love" (1Corinthians 13:13).

I would like us to think about faith, hope, and love, as the arrows of God. Now arrows need at least three things. Not only do physical arrows need these three things, but the arrows of God need these things too.

1 An Arrow Needs a Target

The first thing that an arrow needs is a target. Without a target to aim at, an arrow would seem to have little purpose. Archery without a target —just an undisciplined and aimless shooting of arrows into the air—would not make much sense. It would be as silly as a race with nowhere to run to and nothing to run for, or a boxing match where the opponents just beat the air (1Corinthians 9:26).

When children play ball games, there is usually some kind of target —a wicket, a hoop, a goal square, or a target painted on a brick wall. But when children play with bubbles, they cannot do very much with them. Bubbles are nice, they are fun, but rather airy-fairy things, whereas balls are more serious and substantial things which can be propelled toward a goal. Our faith, hope, and love, must be like the balls, not like the bubbles.

If God's arrows are faith, hope, and love, then what are their targets?

In Colossians 1:4-5 we find not only faith, hope, and love, but their targets as well.

"We heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and your love for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven..." (Colossians 1:4-5).

2 An Arrow Needs Energy

Without energy, an arrow would be a useless object. In archery, energy is transferred from the arm muscle into the bow, and imparted to the arrow by the string. Only then is the arrow any use.

Faith, hope, and love, are not just passive things. They are things that work, and work requires energy. Faith, hope, and love, are not just nouns. They have verb forms. These are action words. We can say, "I believe! I love! I hope!" They are not merely things we have, they are things we do. As the Bible tells us, faith or belief alone —a faith that does not work— is a dead faith (James 2:26). If God's arrows are faith, hope, and love, we should observe a living energy in them.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, we find not only faith, hope, and love, but their energy as well.

"We constantly bear in mind your work of faith, labor of love, and perseverance of hope" (1Thessalonians 1:3)

3 An Arrow Needs Penetration

Without the ability to penetrate, without being sharp, an arrow would be rather useless. To change the analogy a little, you have probably pricked your finger with a pin or needle, but that was easily removed. Have you ever had a fish-hook lodge in your finger? That's quite a different matter! It penetrates and stays in because it is barbed. If God's arrows are faith, hope, and love, we should find them barbed and penetrating both our hearts and the hearts of the people who know us.

Where do faith, hope, and love get their sharpness from? What makes them penetrate the heart and stick?

In 1John 4:16-17, we find not only faith, hope, and love, but their penetration as well.

"We have come to know and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment..." (1John 4:16-17).


ico Strong Spiritual Growth

—There is a link between joy and spiritual growth. Paul says, "I shall remain with you and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith" (Philippians 1:25). Touch the button title to go to that page.