Today is remembered as Reformation Day in some Christian circles: the day on which Martin Luther challenged the Roman Catholic church on selling indulgences, among other matters, and advocated the priority of faith. I mean "priority" in more than one of its meanings, so to be clear: both the importance of faith, and the fact that faith comes before the resulting works.
Jesus taught that evil comes from the heart: immorality, theft, adultery, murder, and such begin as internal matters. Before there are works of evil, there are thoughts and desires of evil. Consider the much-neglected commandments against coveting: you shall not covet your neighbor's property, or his wife, or his workers, or anything pertaining to our neighbor. Coveting property leads to theft. Coveting someone's spouse leads to adultery. In some cases, it has been known to lead to murder. The seeds of the evil to come were planted as coveting. The deeds followed from thoughts and desires that were encouraged.
And the righteous live by faith. It begins as an internal matter. Long before Mother Theresa was a saint, she learned to value compassion and humility -- to see other people through the eyes of faith, as valuable in God's sight. Long before Abraham was anyone's father, he learned faith: to trust that God could keep a promise to bring offspring even from an old man such as he was. Long before we step out in faith, before we find our own calling, we learn the thoughts and desires of the heart that come from faith. We learn holiness and compassion. We learn to trust God's thoughts more than our own. We learn the wisdom of both righteousness and forgiveness. We learn the immeasurable importance of loving our neighbors. We learn what it means to desire mercy rather than sacrifice. It starts as small as a mustard seed, and grows until it is a refuge or sanctuary in this world.
Faith, hope, and love are closely intertwined. It is hard to have one without having all three. God's love creates our faith. Our faith lives out God's love.