Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Love is Patient (and will overcome)

In 1 Corinthians 13, this section in verse 4 has a lot of different wordings.  Love is patient.  Love suffers long. Love endures long.  Love never gives up.  I have been dealing with this concept a lot in my life lately - in conversations, in actions with people, in friendships.  So often in life we are in a rush.  I'm pretty sure I ate my lunch yesterday in grand total of 8 minutes because I had to rush to get back to work.  We are always on the move from one calendar appointment to the next, from one place to another.  It's hard to sit still in one place for a long period of time in complete serenity and peace with everything we seemingly have to get done.  There's always something right in front of us that keeps us moving.  And believe it or not, this concept has seeped into more than our schedule.  I mean look at our cultural relationship phenomena.  Society just wants to continue moving.  40-50% of first marriages end in divorce and it only gets worse from there - And that doesn't even count the ones that live together but don't get married.  So many people seem to not be committed enough to be patient and endure, instead just ending up moving from one relationship to the next, one friendship to the next.  When times get rough, give up.  When feelings fade, leave.  The more impatient we get, the more stupid and devastating decisions we make.  

I think there is a reason Paul started his list with patience and enduring and never giving up.  This is the foundational base to every relationship.  What kind of friendship is going to last if one just leaves when there's a fight?  or what relationship is ever going to last if you don't know that both parties can endure patiently through every life trial?  It's like Paul is saying, if you can be patient and endure, then as the last part of the list says, your love will never fail.  

Patience is a hard thing in a relationship.  Especially starting out.  But I am realizing more and more that the more patience you exercise at the beginning, the more you realize you can endure over time, and the more you are likely to never give up.  This is the essence of agape, that no matter what insane situations happen, no matter what someone does, no matter what lemons life hands you, that you still love through it all, just as God endured the hardest trial of all and loved us the entire time.  

Maybe you're like me and you've struggled with patience in the past and you've seen those consequences.  You might even think there is no hope of changing the mistakes you've always made, and you constantly live in fear that you will continue to make those mistakes again and again.  But I have a secret for you.  We don't have to live in that fear.  We have overcome by the word of our testimony for our Savior is worthy of honor and glory and all of our praise and He has overcome ALL.  He can change you, he can give you the strength and power to conquer any struggle you have.  He loves you and overcame for you, so that you might be able to overcome and love him, and spread that love to a world whose love is a complete mess.  Our goal is to love the world, not have the world love us.  John 15:19 says "If you were of the world, the world would love it's own.  Yet because you are not of the world, but i chose you out of the world, the world hates you."  Are we being a thermostat to those around us, loving others, constantly controlling the temperature of the room, or is our relationship with God more of a thermometer where the world controls our temperature and has the ability to rule how intimate of a relationship with God we have?  That is a dangerous spot! 

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, But take heart! For I have overcome the world." John 16:33

It's time patience and endurance were added back into the way we love. Let us overcome!

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